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Microsoft Windows 7 final pricing is revealed and analyzed

The pricing for Microsoft Windows 7 has been finalized. Greg Shultz takes closer look at how much it will cost you to upgrade to Windows 7.

Well, the Windows 7 pricing saga has come to an end. On Friday July 31, Microsoft tied up the loose ends by revealing the prices for the rest of its Windows 7 products -- Windows Anytime Upgrade and Family Pack Pricing -- on the Windows 7 Blog. Let's take a look at the details.

This blog post is also available in PDF format in a free TechRepublic download.

Windows Anytime Upgrade pricing structure

While there were four Windows Vista Windows Anytime Upgrade packages, there appears to be only three Windows 7 Windows Anytime Upgrade packages:

  • Starter to Home Premium: $79.99
  • Home Premium to Professional: $89.99
  • Home Premium to Ultimate: $139.99

Looking at the Starter to Home Premium upgrade first, chances are good that the only system on which you'll be able to purchase a copy of Windows 7 Starter is on a netbook. As such, having Windows 7 Starter on netbooks will help netbook makers keep their prices down to an acceptable level while the $80 Starter to Home Premium upgrade will provide end users an affordable upgrade path.

Chances are also good that the majority of the new PCs available in the retail channel will come with a Windows 7 Home Premium. When you look at the prices here, the cost to move from Home Premium to Professional seems like a good deal, but the move from Home Premium to Ultimate doesn't appear to be much of a deal -- especially when you consider the cost difference between the full packages.

The MSRP for the full version of Professional costs $299.99, and MSRP for the full version of Home Premium costs $199.99. That's a difference of $100, so the $89.99 for the move from Home Premium to Professional is a discount.

The MSRP for the full version of Ultimate costs $319.99 and MSRP for the full version of Home Premium costs $199.99, which is a difference of $120. So at $139.99, it actually costs $19.99 more to get Ultimate via the Windows Anytime Upgrade than it would to go buy the full version of Ultimate.

Even so, you'll see that this Home Premium to Ultimate Windows Anytime Upgrade is cheaper that it was with Vista as noted in the Windows 7 Blog:

"You'll note that we've reduced the price of moving from Home Premium to Ultimate 12% in the US as compared to Vista pricing."

As I mentioned, based on the information revealed on the Windows 7 Blog, there appears to be only three Windows Anytime Upgrade packages for Windows 7. However, several other reputable sources, including Paul Thurrott's SuperSite for Windows and Ars Technica indicate that there may be others.

  • Starter to Professional: $114.99
  • Starter to Ultimate: $164.99
  • Professional to Ultimate: $129.99

These additional packages make sense, and the prices seem to be consistent; however, I will refrain from further comment at this time.

Windows 7 Family Pack

The Windows 7 Family Pack turned out to be way cheaper than I had estimated in my last blog, "The RTM Version of Windows 7 Is Ready, but Are You Ready for It?" I had figured that, like it did with Vista, Microsoft would make you pay full price for at least one of the licenses and then give you a dramatic discount on the other two. But that is not the case with Windows 7. In fact, the whole package offers a dramatic discount. The price for the Windows 7 Family Pack, which will include three Windows 7 Home Premium upgrade licenses, is $149.99.

That breaks down to about $49.99 per license, which is the exact same price that Microsoft was charging for the Windows 7 Home Premium Upgrade during the special Windows 7 preorder campaign that ran from June 26 through July 11.

Keep in mind that the Windows 7 Family Pack includes upgrade licenses and not full install licenses. This makes sense when you consider that many people who have three computers capable of running Windows 7 are already running Windows XP or Windows Vista.

The only odd thing about the Windows 7 Family Pack is that the availability is described as "...until supplies last..." which clearly indicates that this is a limited-time product. I would think that it would be better to have the Windows 7 Family Pack be a regular ongoing product and have the price change from the dramatic discount of $49.99 per license to a less dramatic discount, such as $89.99 per license, after an initial period of time.

The whole enchilada

I know that I've listed the regular package prices before, but now that we have all of them, I thought that it would be nice to have them all in one article.

  • Windows 7 Home Premium (Full): $199.99
  • Windows 7 Home Premium (Upgrade): $119.99
  • Windows 7 Professional (Full): $299.99
  • Windows 7 Professional (Upgrade): $199.99
  • Windows 7 Ultimate (Full): $319.99
  • Windows 7 Ultimate (Upgrade): $219.99

What's your take?

Now that you know the price for the Windows 7 Family Pack, are you likely to purchase that package? Have you used any of the Windows Vista Windows Anytime Upgrade packages? If so, what was your experience? As always, if you have comments or information to share about these topics, please take a moment to drop by the TechRepublic Community Forums and let us hear from you.

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About

Greg Shultz is a freelance Technical Writer. Previously, he has worked as Documentation Specialist in the software industry, a Technical Support Specialist in educational industry, and a Technical Journalist in the computer publishing industry.

50 comments
Deadly Ernest
Deadly Ernest

they should blow away home and have Prof at the home price and ultimate at the pro price.

cobbgw
cobbgw

I would like to see some bundled packs of professional as well. There are a lot of small businesses out here that are really hurting these days and I am sure we could all use a break. Cousin Billy and company have definately made bunches off of us already, can he not let up just a bit more?

stealthbadger
stealthbadger

...users who skipped upgrading from XP are going to be interested in paying a premium for the forced, dramatic interface change?

DHCDBD
DHCDBD

If I read the article correctly to move from Basic to Ultimate you have to buy the Basic to Premium, then the Premium to Pro, then the Pro to Ultimate upgrades because there is not Basic to Pro or Basic to Ultimate upgrades. So, Starter to Premium $80 + Premium to Pro $90 + Pro to Ultimate $130 = $300. IS this correct? Using the other set of figures: Starter to Pro $115 + Pro to Ultimate $170 = $285. Now add in the cost of the Starter. Becomes pretty pricey pretty fast. By way of comparison, OSX is $130. So we are looking at twice the cost of another marketed OS. I say boycott MS until they come to the understanding that they are not competitive and that they are not the only game in town.

Tony Hopkinson
Tony Hopkinson

Upgrade packs and the home premium editions are at least for me are total waste of effort and money, so teh family pack is out. UK outlet is offering ultimate at 229 quids and 219 for Professional. So my three PCs (XP, SimpleMepis and Vista Business) I'm looking at a thousand dollars minimum. Bill, do not hold your breath.

Mark W. Kaelin
Mark W. Kaelin

Do you think the pricing, now that is has been fully revealed, is reasonable?

csmith.kaze
csmith.kaze

The best things in life are free, ya know.

grax
grax

Upgrades to Win7 are supposed not to work from XP and will be irrelevant to Europeans. It seems that a Pound Sterling (?) is still only worth a Yankee Dollar ($) despite the markets thinking it's good for $1.70. It's the usual rip-off. I advise my clients that, unless they wish to change to Apple or Linux, they should delay purchase of new machines until well after the introduction of Win7. It's going to be a long cold winter for Microsoft, anywhere outside North America.

david.dick
david.dick

It's just yet another MS Cost. Having been running the RC for the last few months, I'd agree it's nice and has some lovely features but just too costly. XP lives on. Until MS withdraws support.....

SilverBullet
SilverBullet

and then I will also. For now, it's XP and I will bypass Win7 and wait for the "next" change. You know those marketing folks at MS will continue the need to get paid.

john3347
john3347

"I say boycott MS until they come to the understanding that they are not competitive and that they are not the only game in town." Problem is that unless and until Linux developers understand that the typical computer user uses their computer FOR projects rather than AS projects, Microsoft IS the only game in town.

DvT-Hex
DvT-Hex

I was SOL during the very short on-line-only, pre-release ($50) purchase window. I have XP, Vista HP, and 7 RC1; I dual boot to XP (default) or 7 and Vista sits unused on the shelf. I still haven't figured out why I spent $160 on Vista and don't see any reason to spend more than $50 on 7. Once 7 RC1 expires, of course its partition will get deleted. Will I go back to dual booting to XP and Vista? Only if I'm bored and need something to do some afternoon. Give me the opportunity to purchase 7 for $50 cash, as I would have, if I could have, done during the pre-release period. Otherwise XP is fine and ... is plenty secure (no breaches since I bought it the day it hit the retail shelves) despite the hype that it is not.

pinballfrank
pinballfrank

In Australia Vista Ultimate costs anywhere from $260.00 to $400.00 depending where you buy. Given that Vista is so full of bugs and is quite unrelialable, I for one would expect a fair price to upgrade to 7 which I must add is a 100% improvment - come on Billy fair go mate!

robert.taubert
robert.taubert

I have three desk tops and two laptops with Vista Ultimate. If I am reading the pricing correctly I would need to buy two Family Packs ($149 x 2 = $298) and then 6 'Anytime upgrades' to Ultimate ($90 x 6 = $540). That's $115 per PC. Considering the price I paid for Vista Ultimate so I could get the extra goodies that never appeared $115 per PC is a little steep. Plus there does not seem to be anything Win7 can do that I haven't already been able to do with Vista. Where's the incentive to upgrade?????

whrtafe
whrtafe

What is Microsoft doing for those of us that have OEM versions of Vista? Do we have to purchase a full version of Win 7?

Another Canadian
Another Canadian

Yes it could be lower, but I am so satisfy with Windows 7 that I have moved my entire family computer, (I have 4 PC) to the windows 7 upgrade and already made the pre order with their special offer to move on Windows 7, for me my experience and integration with their Windows Home Server has just been a great ride and look forward to have the real thing on my computer the professional edition as unfortunately the Ultimate wasn't part of their deal offer. I am more than please with the media center integration and DVD play software integrated and already I have it show to my friends and the one that have seen it has already made pre order them self too after seen what it can do and how stable it is for me and easy to use.

BlueCollarCritic
BlueCollarCritic

I thought I read somewhere that current Vista users would be able to upgrade for cheap, like around $25. Anyone else know anything about that? I admit I have not read all the comments so if someone else has already mentioned this then my apolagies for the spam.

HansfordI
HansfordI

I personally believe that since Microsoft has the "only game in town" they use that to bilk the public. I firmly believe that the top of the line should only cost about 50.00 and they can't tell me that it isn't cost effective since Windows is still the predominant operating system in the world with probably Billions of PC's, notebooks, etc running it. They are out of control and the bottom line can't be hurting with the pricing issues.

patrick_mullen
patrick_mullen

Microsoft would complicate the Lord's prayer. Why not just create an operating system that is functional? How hard can it be?

applegate.jerry
applegate.jerry

How much MORE memory will we need to buy for this one? That should be factored in the cost analysis too.

jck
jck

Then, that is a realistic price for an OS. $50 is not too much. Of course with the progress of Linux, why would you pay $150 if you get something free that can do what you need and still pass information back and forth to Windows boxes?

denkile
denkile

GENERALIZATION: A good product at the right price will sell itself if: _it is wanted or needed _it is available _it is known Good products do not need "pushing" etc.

doylecomputer
doylecomputer

I don't believe any buggy software should be 300+ dollars. And then there is the cost of new software since most of what we own won't even run on Windows 7. So the actual cost to migrate to Windows 7 and remain productive is well over 1000 dollars. Sure they offer XP Mode but only if you purchase Professional or Ultimate. What a joke. Has Microsoft heard about the recession... or they just don't care. Yet the fact remains we will buy it because most Windows users would need to spend years trying to learn a new operating system and that would be counter productive. And Microsoft knows that. I'll keep my XP.

citib0y
citib0y

Microsoft is about as "reasonable" as they are "honorable" in anything, and everything, they have done. What a sham.

desirawson
desirawson

Until everyone hops on the Windows 7 bandwagon and Vista's price goes down - Vista was so UNDER-RATED. I love it and I will be waiting to purchase inexpensive licenses for my home other home computers for the best "user friendly" OS that for a ton of ridiculous reasons, everyone else hated! (If you know what you are doing, as Tech Republic has pointed outv- it is THE BEST OS, size being a moot point).

rrm_computer
rrm_computer

I have been running Vista Business on notebook and Vista Ultimate on Desktop and have not experienced any problems. These prices are ridiculously high and also in Australia they will be even higher. Sorry M$ but not this time.

MPG187
MPG187

Linux FTW. Are those prices for from Vista to Seven? From Vista to Seven should be free.

Lamini
Lamini

sorries, but no reason to upgrade. its not like W7 has many additional features xp didnt already have. not even going to start with vista. until W7 has been out look enough, tried and true, sticking with XP. i'll stick with something that works, is tested to my needs, etc, and save me some $$$ until next OS comes out

vortek
vortek

Here's what I'd say is fair, considering the pains that Vista brought to many (and this is essentially a large service pack to them...) upgrade from like version of Vista to 7 (eg: Premium to premium): $49 upgrade from XP: $99 MS would move a ton of 7 with this pricing...

DHCDBD
DHCDBD

While I prefer Linux as my primary OS, I am not a Linux fanboy; I believe in using what works best for a given situation. Putting that aside. Many Linux distributions are almost entirely GUI oriented. Except for all but the most arcane functions, you do not need the CLI. Though speaking far from accuracy, I will use a DOS example. Much like Windows 1.0 - 3.11 Linux is a GUI's are shells built around a base OS. This is like the above Windows being a shell around DOS. The CLI is there if you need it, or want it. Microsoft, I believe last week, in the companies filing to the SEC announced that Linux was, in fact, a competitor on the desktop to Windows. Looking beyond this, there are very few application that do not have functional equivalents to Windows applications. Those applications are primarily in the CAD, graphics, and gaming arena's. The audio world is beginning to move to the Linux arena and is using Audacity rather than the Windows counterpart of Pro Tools. Not all for both, but enough to indicate a shift. Hal 2000 alerted me that the film industry is also using Linux for film editing, again not all. Going beyond Linux. Apples OS X is in the running although M$ does not acknowledge OS X as a competitor. You also have BSD Unix. Many governments around the world are moving away from M$ and other proprietary application. So, I have to say that with a few exceptions, Windows is not the only game in town. But also, do not take me wrong. Linux has several problems; not the least of which is that the overall community is fractured and often snobbish. Several long time kernel developers are leaving the community after protracted disagreements with Linus Torlvalds.

Tony Hopkinson
Tony Hopkinson

It might not be too flakey. It might not have problems with the hardware. Five hundred bucks better, I doubt it. There deifinitely needs to be a better reason than it's been released.

ray.henry
ray.henry

You don't need to read all the commetns. The answer to your question is in the article.

gavin142
gavin142

I've run it on as little as 1 Gig (but then again, I don't have any machines (xp included) that have less than 1gb anymore)and it performs beautifully, even in a VM

gavin142
gavin142

find yourself a real computer store where you can purchase an OEM copy. For the cost of buying a baggie of screws ($0.89), I get my full install versions of the OS for less than the upgrade price.

thart
thart

Windows XP has been out since 2001 and the prices for it have never gone down. Do you really expect M$ to discount Vista? They want Windows 7 to succeed, they will not discount another OS that may compete with it.

chunkybick
chunkybick

The prices quoted are in US dollar but when it is sold in the UK Microsoft will probably just substitute the US$ sign for the UK? sign.If I was desperate to obtain a copy of Windows 7 it would be worth a trip to the US. I have had no problems with my Windows Vista Ultimate so I think I will be sticking with it.

Agave
Agave

Since you're in Telecommunications System Administration and not IT System Administration, I'll cut you some slack. There are dramatic differences between XP and Windows 7; and numerous improvements. Did you install the beta or RC? Did you read/follow any of the reputable in-depth articles and blog posts? It seems unlikely or the changes in Windows 7 simply don't appeal to you, but to say there aren't many additional features is either coming from being uninformed or misinformed.

BlueCollarCritic
BlueCollarCritic

Thanks for replying but I think you misunderstood my question. I wasn't asking if the article specified an amount to upgrade but if anyone had heard about a $25 (specifically) upgrade price. If I do a search on the story (to make sure I didn't miss it) on the number 25 and get no results then clearly the article does not address my question. Did I need to search on the value "twenty-five" instead?

joseph.r.piazza
joseph.r.piazza

MS did demostrate it last year on a netbook with 512 Mbyte. I I tried it on a Pent 4 PC with 512 Mbyte...seem to run as fast as XP did.

PoppaTab
PoppaTab

You have at least 3 options here. You can stick with XP, use Win 7 with updated drivers, or you can use XP mode. You can update drivers in W7 for most hardware already or use the seamless virtual XP mode which will run nearly everything your XP Pro runs. Sticking with XP means you don't have the improvements in the OS and want to lose ground in software that will only operate in the future. What did you do when the x64 bit OS's came out and what will you do when 64 bit OS is your only choice? Adobe has chosen 32 bit and has been coming up with somethig for 64 bit flash someday for quite some time. Most if not all 32 bit programs run on 64 bit OS quite well. All I can say is there are many that are choosing to stay behind the times. I can't knock that because I resisted XP for a few years and kept my 98SE. I do believe there will be a time when W7 will be attractive to the masses that have chosen to stay behind. You choose to break ground with Ubuntu which is good; it is a very good alternative. Linux OS's need to come the forefront for many reasons that we all know. Just remember that old cars do wear out and so do Operating Systems.

misceng
misceng

The prices in UK will as usual be horrendous. I see no advantage in changing since my old peripherals will probably not have drivers in Win 7. Win 7 may well have improvements that attract some but many I am sure will not have a real need for them. It will be much better for me to increase my knowledge of Ubuntu to make a change when my current PCs die.

Jaytmoon
Jaytmoon

Much like the euphoria professed by Apple Pundits about Leopard.

john3347
john3347

While there are indeed some improvements in Windows 7 over XP and CERTAINLY improvements in stability and performance over Vista, much of the perceived improvements are simply Vista shortcomings "brushed under the rug." An example of this is Libraries. The file and search system (actually lack of system) in Vista was absolute rock bottom miserable. Instead of fixing the problem, they just added libraries to hide the lack of organization that was, and still is, present. Much of the excitement over Windows is only some euphoria from a new "something" following the "GREAT LETDOWN" that Vista proved to be. This euphoria will soon wear off and Windows 7 will lose much of its current "shine" in the user's eye.

GoboSlayer
GoboSlayer

Since the XP Mode's objective is legacy support of applications. This is going to be most important to the business, so I can see why it's available in Pro and above. Thanks for the link!

joseph.r.piazza
joseph.r.piazza

1. MS should do more discounting....sorrying George you are wrong Windows 7 is price high. MS should admit it made a mistake with Vista and deeply discounted it...$25-50 for the home upgrade. Anyone with a Receipt for Vista FREE! As for XP mode....since XP mode is only with Ultimate edition a VERY EXPENSIVE edition..most user will not buy it....only bBusiness will. I brought 2 copies of the home version at the 50% discount in June-July.

afarmer
afarmer

I am looking forward to the release of Windows 7 after testing the the RC and the early beta versions since this past January. I never bought Vista (using XP Pro), and now I'm happy with that decision. The prices are about the same as XP and Vista (the Winows 7 Home Premium might be a little higher). I've had a great experience while testing the RC version of Windows 7, so if the official version is at least the same, I will highly recommend it. I didn't care much for Vista, though I've only used it a couple of times on my wife's laptop.

gke565
gke565

Been running W7 on a two year old laptop for over six months. It runs a lot faster than XP on my new laptop, and reboots FULLY in under a minute. The new features (including XP mode on VM) allows me to run everything, and the long list of other improvements (aero pop-up, new toolbar, etc.) makes this a definite upgrade. I am so ready to move on.