In a recent post on his ZDNet blog, Ed Bott reported that he had uncovered details confirming both the availability and the price of the Windows 7 Family Pack and three Anytime Upgrade products for Windows 7 in a couple of inadvertently posted Web pages. That blog sparked quite a bit of interest in the following days as the story spread across the Internet via quotes and links. It seems that a lot of people are interested in finding out whether Microsoft is going to continue offering pricing deals, like the special, time-limited offer, Windows 7 preorder campaign, in order to help users feel compensated for all the pain caused by Vista.
In case you missed it, the Windows 7 preorder campaign ran from June 26 through July 11 and allowed consumers in the U.S. running either XP or Vista to preorder up to three copies of Windows 7 Home Premium Upgrade for $49 or Windows 7 Professional Upgrade for $99. If you were able to take advantage of these deals, you saved between 50% and 60 % off the standard retail cost.
As for the Windows 7 Family Pack and Anytime Upgrade pricing divulged in Ed's blog, while they sound reasonable and would also represent some aggressive pricing as well as great deals for consumers, it is impossible to tell whether the prices listed on the leaked sites were real or just placeholders. As such, we'll just have to wait until Microsoft unveils the real pricing for these special packages.
In the meantime it is important to take notice of the Windows pricing already revealed by Microsoft recently on The Windows Blog.
This blog post is also available in PDF format as a free TechRepublic download.
According to the blog
The estimated retail prices for upgrade packaged retail product of Windows 7 in the U.S. are:
- Windows 7 Home Premium (Upgrade): $119.99
- Windows 7 Professional (Upgrade): $199.99
- Windows 7 Ultimate (Upgrade): $219.99
And the estimated retail prices for full-packaged retail product of Windows 7 in the U.S. are:
- Windows 7 Home Premium (Full): $199.99
- Windows 7 Professional (Full): $299.99
- Windows 7 Ultimate (Full): $319.99
While it might seem that this pricing is pretty standard fare, when you compare these prices to the prices of similar Windows Vista packages you will find that Microsoft is already offering up some good deals. Let's take a closer look:
The retail prices for the upgrade packaged retail product of Windows Vista in the U.S. are:
- Windows Vista Home Premium (Upgrade): $159.95
- Windows Vista Business (Upgrade): $199.95
- Windows Vista Ultimate (Upgrade): $259.95
As you can see, there is a $40 difference in the price of the Home Premium and Ultimate. In other words, the Windows 7 upgrade versions of these two packages are each $40 cheaper than the Vista versions. The prices for Windows 7 Professional and Vista Business are the same.
The retail prices for full-packaged retail product of Windows Vista in the U.S. are:
- Windows Vista Home Premium (Full): $239.95
- Windows Vista Business (Full): $299.95
- Windows Vista Ultimate (Full): $399.95
Here, the full version of Windows 7 Home Premium is also $40 cheaper than the Vista version. Now what is really astounding is that the full version of Windows 7 Ultimate is $80 cheaper than the Vista version. Again, the prices for Windows 7 Professional and Vista Business are exactly the same.
Of course, as you look at all these prices, keep in mind that these are the MSRP (Manufacturer Suggested Retail Price) prices. The actual street prices will vary and will be lower, but they are all based on the MSRP.
Vista Anytime Upgrade
Even though we don't have any real Windows 7 to Vista comparison at this point in time, it is worth listing the Windows Vista Windows Anytime Upgrade prices — just so we have them available and in mind for later.
- Home Basic to Home Premium: $79.00
- Business to Ultimate: $139.00
- Home Premium to Ultimate: $159.00
- Home Basic to Ultimate: $199.00
Past Windows pricing
All this talk of Windows pricing and comparison made me wonder about the pricing of previous versions of the Windows operating system. So I did some research and turned up some interesting information and pricing details.
Windows 95 was released on August 24, 1995:
- Windows 95 Upgrade: $109
- Windows 95 Full: $209
Windows 98 was released on June 25, 1998:
- Windows 98 Upgrade: $109
- Windows 98 Full: $209
Windows 98 SE
Windows 98 SE was released on May 5, 1999:
- Windows 98 SE Upgrade: $109
- Windows 98 SE Full: $209
- Second Edition Updates Disc: $19.95 (plus shipping and handling)
The Second Edition Updates Disc was designed as an upgrade for existing Windows 98 users.
Windows 2000 was released on February 17, 2000:
- Windows NT to 2000 Professional Upgrade: $149
- Windows 9x to 2000 Professional Upgrade: $219
- Windows 2000 Professional Full: $319
Windows 2000 provided two upgrade versions/price points: one for 9.x users and one for NT users.
Windows ME was released on September 14, 2000:
- Windows ME Upgrade: $109
- Windows ME Full: $209
- Windows Me Promotional Step-Up: $59.95
The Promotional Step-Up package was a promotionally priced product, was only available from September 14, 2000, through January 15, 2001, and was designed to make it more affordable for Windows 98 and Windows 98 Second Edition users to upgrade to Windows ME.
Windows XP was released on October 21, 2001:
- Windows XP Home Edition Upgrade: $99.99
- Windows XP Home Edition Full: $199.99
- Windows XP Professional Upgrade: $199.99
- Windows XP Professional Full: $299.99
If you compare the prices of the upgrade and full versions Windows XP Professional to Vista Business and Windows 7 Professional, you'll see that the pricing is consistent. If you compare the prices of the upgrade and full versions Windows XP Home Edition to Vista and Windows 7, you'll see that you have to stretch to make connections. The Home Edition prices match the Vista Home Basic prices and the full XP Home Edition price matches the full Windows 7 Home Premium price; however, the upgrade Windows 7 Home Premium price is $10 more than the upgrade XP Home Edition price.
What's your take?
After reading this, what do you think about the Windows 7 pricing structure? As always, if you have comments or information to share about this topic, please take a moment to drop by the TechRepublic Community Forums and let us hear from you.
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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.