Best Buy Memo Hints at Windows 7 Pricing
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With so much enthusiasm around Windows 7, thanks to the highly successful beta test program, it seemed the other shoe had to drop sooner or later. It has, in the form of concerns that Microsoft would raise the price when Windows 7 ships in October.
It started with recent columns in tech publications that "word on the street" was that Microsoft would raise the price of Windows 7 over Windows Vista, its maligned predecessor. Perhaps those rumors were started by a smug slacker in a hoodie.
Microsoft (NASDAQ: MSFT) has been keeping quiet about pricing up to now, but a leaked memo from Best Buy seems to hint that the price either won't go up, or the biggest consumer electronics retailer in the country is willing to take a bath to sell this operating system.
The memo, which first appeared on the enthusiast blog Engadget, states that effective June 26, Best Buy will offer its Technology Guarantee program, which means if you buy a PC with Windows Vista Home Premium, Business or Ultimate after that date, you'll get a coupon good for a free upgrade to Windows 7 when its released in October.
This is similar to what happened with the release of Vista, minus the lawsuit-inducing "Vista-Capable" program. It's a standard practice on the part of resellers who don't want to have inventory sitting around because customers don't want the old, and in this case, the really unwanted Vista OS.
Microsoft declined to comment specifically on the memo, stating in an e-mail to InternetNews.com "As announced earlier this week, were continuing to work with our retail and OEM partners to provide Windows 7 Upgrade Option programs and other offers to consumers interested in experiencing Windows 7, which will be publicly available on October 22nd."
Best Buy did not return calls for comment.
The more interesting detail, if the memo is to be believed, is that Best Buy will offer Windows 7 for pre-sale for 16 days, from June 26 through July 11, at incredible discount prices. Windows 7 Home Premium upgrade package will run for just $49.99 and Windows 7 Professional upgrade package for $99.99. The Windows 7 upgrades are only available to Vista owners. Windows XP users have to buy the new version of the OS.
That's quite a savings. The Vista Home Premium upgrade has a suggested retail price of $129.99 and the Vista Business upgrade is $199.95.
There was some noise on the Internet that said Windows 7 should be given away for free, given what a mess Vista turned out to be. SuperSite for Windows publisher Paul Thurrott refrained from such calls for a freebie but felt Microsoft should offer a bargain.
"I said they should, and it would be silly to do anything other than lowball it," he told InternetNews.com. He figures BestBuy.com is going to endure a mad dash with a 16-day window of opportunity. "That's going to be a crazy period of time for people to jump in and grab it."
Thurrott adds "It's inconceivable that Microsoft didn't offer this deal to other retailers. Of course some are gone, like CompUSA, but you have to think Wal Mart, Stapes and the like will get it. [Microsoft] can't really strike a deal with one retailer so it's likely to be more than just Best Buy," he said.
He said he doesn't think people burned by the Vista Capable debacle need to worry this time. "There isn't a computer being sold today that can't run Windows 7, so it's not the issue it was three years ago," he said.