Smart buyers know that there’s no such thing as a free lunch — and even steep discounts only last so long. Microsoft (NASDAQ: MSFT) officials confirmed on Monday that company has withdraw its Windows 7 “Family Pack” discount upgrade package from the market.
Microsoft typically sells Windows as a single-user license, for one machine. Starting in late July, Microsoft began to offer offering an upgrade package to Windows 7 Home Premium for consumers that allowed them to install the new operating system on up to three PCs.
At $149.99, it was much cheaper than buying three of the regular single-user upgrades. However, the deal has lapsed. Although the company had warned it would expire when stocks ran out, it never set a firm date.
“The Windows 7 Family Pack was introduced as a limited time offer while supplies last in select geographies. Response has been very positive and in some cases, the offer has sold out,” a Microsoft spokesperson said in a statement e-mailed to InternetNews.com.
Windows 7 began shipping to consumers on October 22.
Expiration of the deal was announced on Microsoft’s Family Pack page. “Thank you for your interest in Windows 7. The Windows 7 Family Pack offer has ended. Please check our other offers,” read a statement on the site.
For users who missed the Family Pack offer, however, the “other offers” may engender sticker shock. Whereas the Family Pack provided three installations of Windows 7 for roughly $50 each, a regular, single-machine upgrade from Windows XP or Vista to Windows 7 Home Premium costs $119.99.
That would come to roughly $360 for three PCs — a $210 premium over the price of Family Pack.
Meanwhile, some resellers that still have Family Pack inventory have been upping the price to match the demand — perhaps even gouging customers for whatever the market will allow.
For instance, Amazon has scratched out the $149.99 price on Family Pack and re-priced it at $279.88. That brings the cost to about $93 per PC, less than the $120 per PC SRP but significantly more than the offer’s price of $50 per machine. Other vendors, including Best Buy, simply removed the offer from their e-commerce sites.
Contrast that with Apple’s Family Pack for Snow Leopard. It can be installed on up to five Macs for $49.
In September, market tracking firm NPD said that the Snow Leopard Family Pack was flying off store shelves.
Those who figure they’ll wait for Microsoft’s next discount offer for a multiple upgrade package should not hold their breath, the company cautions. “My understanding is that it was a limited time offer and there are no plans to introduce an additional family pack offer,” the Microsoft spokesperson said in the e-mail.