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Will Windows 7 really cost more than Vista?

Posted on 20th May 2009 at 11:52 by Tim Smalley with 30 comments

Tim Smalley
While Darren Ward, Director of Product Management for Dell’s Business Client Product Group, has said that Microsoft is likely to charge more for Windows 7 licences than it did for both Windows Vista and Windows XP, I’m not 100 per cent convinced that it'll affect consumers in quite the same way it does OEMs.

I would be quite surprised if the price increase is as widespread as implied by Ward’s statements – many commentators seem to think he means that every version of Windows 7 will be more expensive, but I think it’s likely to affect a smaller subset of potential Windows 7 adopters.

It’s important to understand the context in which the news was reported because I think that it makes quite a difference to what Ward actually said.

First of all, Ward works in Dell’s Business Client Product Group and so he’s more than likely referring to how much Windows 7 Professional is going to cost. Given Windows 7 Professional’s improved feature set compared to Windows Vista Business, it’s easy to understand why it might cost a bit more. That's not to say it's pleasing to see Microsoft potentially increasing prices for businesses given how tight things are at the moment.

If Ward isn’t referring to just Windows 7 Professional, Microsoft has said that Windows 7 Home Basic is not going to be available in developed countries at all, which obviously has an impact on the minimum adoption cost because Windows 7 Home Premium isn’t going to magically occupy the space currently taken up by Windows Vista Home Basic – it will be a like-for-like replacement for Vista Home Premium and I believe this will be the version that most bit-tech readers opt for.

Microsoft’s decision to get rid of the Home Basic Edition in developed markets – including Australia, Canada, Israel, New Zealand, the US and the UK, as well as most of Western Europe – is a brave one, but it’s one that is probably backed up with hard data. I doubt many of you would have knowingly purchased Windows Vista Home Basic when Home Premium offered quite a bit more functionality for not much more.

However, Microsoft did play tricks with consumers and OEMs alike when Vista launched, because Windows Vista Home Premium commanded a higher price than Windows XP Home. That caused an uproar amongst OEMs (and the whole Vista Ready class action suit shenanigans), because in order to deliver the widely advertised Vista experience, OEMs had to include Home Premium as a bare minimum. And now with Windows 7 Home Basic not even being an option for OEMs, the price per licence will increase for them regardless of whether or not Windows 7 Home Premium hits a similar price point to its Vista equivalent.

From a PC enthusiast's perspective, Windows Vista Home Premium is (and always was) the ‘entry level’ version of Microsoft's current OS and I will be surprised if there’s a massive price increase on that particular version of Windows 7. It is the version that most of us are likely to buy when Windows 7 launches, but the fact that OEMs are speaking up already does concern me a little.

Microsoft has so far been incredibly careful to limit the amount of information released about its Windows 7 plans thus far – even the release date hasn't been made official, although late October is looking the most likely timeframe at the moment. The lack of information on pricing, which may or may not have been finalised this far away from the OS's launch, could undo a lot of the goodwill Microsoft has built up during Windows 7's development. At the moment, there's no reason to believe Windows 7 Home Premium will cost more than the Vista equivalent, but unless Microsoft squashes the rumours with an official announcement, the gremlins will continue to feast in the dark.

30 Comments

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flibblesan 20th May 2009, 13:03 Quote
All I want is to get a cheap upgrade from Vista to Windows 7.
Icy EyeG 20th May 2009, 13:11 Quote
I do hope I can afford Windows 7 Pro... I have a Wacom Intuos serial tablet that I hope to use with Windows XPM . This tablet is the main reason I can't upgrade to a 64-bit OS (wacom discontinued the serial drivers).
I believe this may be the best way to solve my problem, since a new A4 tablet from Wacom costs a lot of money, and hopefully, more money that a new OS.
Blackmoon181 20th May 2009, 13:11 Quote
Quote:
Originally Posted by flibblesan
All I want is to get a cheap upgrade from Vista to Windows 7.

the best thing to do at the moment is to download the release candidate for ZERO cost and play it by ear until it expires in january or whatever
Comet 20th May 2009, 13:57 Quote
In my opinion increasing the price would be a very bad business choice.
So far Windows 7 has a good hype going for it. But lets be honest.
Windows 7 is just what it is, because Vista failed to reach expectations. Many people have been happy with Windows XP. Plus both the home and the business market are vary wary about in what way they waste their money. Windows 7 may be very good but for the price conscious person an increase in price and the possible media attention that may come due to that may just lead him to prefer to look elsewhere.

Imagine reading a Windows 7 review and the conclusion being something like this.
"IF you're happy with what you can do with your current SO at current prices Windows 7 isn't worth upgrading to"

The initial reviews are life or death for many software. Specially operation systems

One good point to look at is Windows Vista. The system is much more stable now. I have little to no problem running my Windows Vista 64x. But now it is too late to turn things around.
gavomatic57 20th May 2009, 14:08 Quote
Having both installed I'm having trouble telling the difference, besides the new task bar it is basically the same. Isn't much quicker, benchmarks are the same or slower - CPC benchmarks - so GPU drivers are irrelevant. I paid over £200 for Vista Ultimate retail and I'm not inclined to do it again. I like Vista and 7 doesn't provide anything new or worth paying out another £200+. They could have provided the changes to Vista in a service pack and saved its disgruntled user base a few hundred quid. It may have even restored some faith in the company.
Tim S 20th May 2009, 14:32 Quote
Quote:
Originally Posted by gavomatic57
Having both installed I'm having trouble telling the difference, besides the new task bar it is basically the same. Isn't much quicker, benchmarks are the same or slower - CPC benchmarks - so GPU drivers are irrelevant. I paid over £200 for Vista Ultimate retail and I'm not inclined to do it again. I like Vista and 7 doesn't provide anything new or worth paying out another £200+. They could have provided the changes to Vista in a service pack and saved its disgruntled user base a few hundred quid. It may have even restored some faith in the company.

The speed difference is on lower spec machines - I assume you've tested on a fairly high-end machine? Netbooks run Win7 pretty well, while Vista was an exercise of frustration.
fargo 20th May 2009, 17:44 Quote
Quote:
Originally Posted by gavomatic57
Having both installed I'm having trouble telling the difference, besides the new task bar it is basically the same. Isn't much quicker, benchmarks are the same or slower - CPC benchmarks - so GPU drivers are irrelevant. I paid over £200 for Vista Ultimate retail and I'm not inclined to do it again. I like Vista and 7 doesn't provide anything new or worth paying out another £200+. They could have provided the changes to Vista in a service pack and saved its disgruntled user base a few hundred quid. It may have even restored some faith in the company.

open vmmreg32.dll in hex editor. The resource section says Windows Vista SP3!
barack 20th May 2009, 18:16 Quote
may be it will little bit expensive but we can't say until and unless there is any official announce from microsoft about prices.This may be a just rumour also.
Psy-UK 20th May 2009, 18:17 Quote
I've never seen any reason to buy retail which is why I always opt for OEM.
gavomatic57 20th May 2009, 18:34 Quote
Quote:
Originally Posted by Tim S
The speed difference is on lower spec machines - I assume you've tested on a fairly high-end machine? Netbooks run Win7 pretty well, while Vista was an exercise of frustration.

I've tried it on my 1.6ghz dual-core laptop as well and it runs like a one-legged dog compared to Ubuntu that is normally on it. Was very frustrating and didn't stay on there long.
Tim S 20th May 2009, 19:25 Quote
Quote:
Originally Posted by gavomatic57
Quote:
Originally Posted by Tim S
The speed difference is on lower spec machines - I assume you've tested on a fairly high-end machine? Netbooks run Win7 pretty well, while Vista was an exercise of frustration.

I've tried it on my 1.6ghz dual-core laptop as well and it runs like a one-legged dog compared to Ubuntu that is normally on it. Was very frustrating and didn't stay on there long.

I've found running Win7 on a netbook isn't too shabby actually...
cyrilthefish 20th May 2009, 19:46 Quote
Quote:
Originally Posted by gavomatic57
I've tried it on my 1.6ghz dual-core laptop as well and it runs like a one-legged dog compared to Ubuntu that is normally on it. Was very frustrating and didn't stay on there long.
Odd, win 7 utterly flies along on my 1.2ghz dual core notebook.
frontline 20th May 2009, 19:52 Quote
If the upgrade price from Vista to Win 7 Home Premium is more than a Vista licence, i won't bother. Plus if i can't upgrade easily to a 64 bit version of it from a 32 bit version of Vista, i won't bother either.
HourBeforeDawn 20th May 2009, 23:15 Quote
huh all this time I have been hearing the opposite that Win 7 will be one of the more cost effective OSes to date but ehh who knows I have about 13 months with the RC1 so I will worry about it later lol...
pimonserry 21st May 2009, 00:28 Quote
Quote:
Originally Posted by frontline
If the upgrade price from Vista to Win 7 Home Premium is more than a Vista licence, i won't bother. Plus if i can't upgrade easily to a 64 bit version of it from a 32 bit version of Vista, i won't bother either.

Agreed, I made the mistake of buying Vista 32bit (I didn't know the 4GB RAM limit) and thus the compelling reason for me to buy Win7 is the upgrade to 64bit, however if this isn't possible I will be sorely disappointed.
Elton 21st May 2009, 02:12 Quote
I'd Actually think it wouldn't be a bad idea to lower the prices a tad just to attract more people to the upgrade.

And as long as they have DX11, it'll be a really compelling upgrade.
HourBeforeDawn 21st May 2009, 06:55 Quote
Quote:
Originally Posted by Tim S
Quote:
Originally Posted by gavomatic57
Quote:
Originally Posted by Tim S
The speed difference is on lower spec machines - I assume you've tested on a fairly high-end machine? Netbooks run Win7 pretty well, while Vista was an exercise of frustration.

I've tried it on my 1.6ghz dual-core laptop as well and it runs like a one-legged dog compared to Ubuntu that is normally on it. Was very frustrating and didn't stay on there long.

I've found running Win7 on a netbook isn't too shabby actually...

ya Im running Windows 7 on my EeePC 1000he, it runs better then XP did on it and the wireless connection manager is a dream come true. I am running Easy Peasy 1.1 on there as well and ya it is faster lol but thats a duh given the type of interface it has compared to Win 7 but I must admit I prefer Win 7 over EP 1.1, oh and I have no video play back issues like before with sites like Hulu with the overweight flash they use.
Dreaming 21st May 2009, 11:29 Quote
Quote:
Originally Posted by Comet
In my opinion increasing the price would be a very bad business choice.
So far Windows 7 has a good hype going for it. But lets be honest.
Windows 7 is just what it is, because Vista failed to reach expectations. Many people have been happy with Windows XP. Plus both the home and the business market are vary wary about in what way they waste their money. Windows 7 may be very good but for the price conscious person an increase in price and the possible media attention that may come due to that may just lead him to prefer to look elsewhere.


I fully expect the retail prices will stay at the same level, so retail buyers wont be put off. They could increase the price of their OEM licences, because if Dell customers are saying"I want Windows 7!" then dell don't really have a choice. Then they have the choice of either passing the cost on and then the customer feels that it's DELL that are ripping them off, or swallow the extra cost out of their profits.

Win-win for microsoft, lose-lose for dell, customers aren't really affected.

although I've never bought a retail licence for an operating system, OEM from scan every time - I've never once had a problem migrating from one motherboard to another with a friendly phone call to the lady in India. In fact, I don't think she even questioned me, just asked for the code, I told her, she told me a new code and it authorised with the new hardware.
Dreaming 21st May 2009, 11:42 Quote
Quote:
Originally Posted by HourBeforeDawn
huh all this time I have been hearing the opposite that Win 7 will be one of the more cost effective OSes to date but ehh who knows I have about 13 months with the RC1 so I will worry about it later lol...

I think most Windows OSs are cost effective if you get the OEM licence. Average upgrade cycle 2-3 years say, lets be prudent and say 2. You get an OEM licence with your PC each time you upgrade / overhaul at about £70. That's £35 for a year for your entire operating system, with support and patches!

I have paid more for a computer game without the patches and the like.

I don't understand retail packages tho, especially at £300 or whatever for Vista Ultimate. You would be better off getting the OEM and just buying a new licence every time you change motherboard. Or as I said in the other post, just phone up and they will renew your OEM licence for free.
Dreaming 21st May 2009, 11:48 Quote
Quote:
Originally Posted by pimonserry
Agreed, I made the mistake of buying Vista 32bit (I didn't know the 4GB RAM limit) and thus the compelling reason for me to buy Win7 is the upgrade to 64bit, however if this isn't possible I will be sorely disappointed.

Hey pimonserry,

don't know if it's your cup of tea, but your licence key is for one version of Windows Vista [version] (i.e. home premium). x86 or x64 is merely the install media you get. You are within your rights to ask Microsoft for an alternate install media (costing a mere £15 or something, rip off for a CD!), or just borrow one from a friend. If you have access to MSDN or something or know someone that does you can just download the .iso.

I think really Microsoft should allow anyone to download the .iso from their website, (so you can try before you buy) and if you like it you should be able to buy a CD key from within the operating system. They are not that progressive yet though ;). Of course if you already had a CD key you could just plug that in.
flibblesan 21st May 2009, 12:36 Quote
Quote:
Originally Posted by Blackmoon181
Quote:
Originally Posted by flibblesan
All I want is to get a cheap upgrade from Vista to Windows 7.

the best thing to do at the moment is to download the release candidate for ZERO cost and play it by ear until it expires in january or whatever

Done that already. I've been running W7 for several months now.
BLC 21st May 2009, 13:24 Quote
Quote:
Originally Posted by Tim S
The speed difference is on lower spec machines - I assume you've tested on a fairly high-end machine? Netbooks run Win7 pretty well, while Vista was an exercise of frustration.

I'll agree with that. So far on my Dell Mini 9 (Intel Atom N270, 1GB RAM,8GB SSD), I've run Ubuntu Netbook Remix (8&9), WinXP, Win7 & Vista. I've stuck to WinXP for the size of installation and familiarity, but Win7 works like a dream; really quick & responsive (SSD issues aside) and it feels very intuitive on a netbook.

Vista on my netbook doesn't even warrant a mention - I had to jump through so many hoops that I felt like a circus performer.
Elton 22nd May 2009, 02:37 Quote
There's always buying OEM products.
frontline 22nd May 2009, 20:09 Quote
Quote:
Originally Posted by Dreaming
Quote:
Originally Posted by pimonserry
Agreed, I made the mistake of buying Vista 32bit (I didn't know the 4GB RAM limit) and thus the compelling reason for me to buy Win7 is the upgrade to 64bit, however if this isn't possible I will be sorely disappointed.

Hey pimonserry,

don't know if it's your cup of tea, but your licence key is for one version of Windows Vista [version] (i.e. home premium). x86 or x64 is merely the install media you get. You are within your rights to ask Microsoft for an alternate install media (costing a mere £15 or something, rip off for a CD!), or just borrow one from a friend. If you have access to MSDN or something or know someone that does you can just download the .iso.

I think really Microsoft should allow anyone to download the .iso from their website, (so you can try before you buy) and if you like it you should be able to buy a CD key from within the operating system. They are not that progressive yet though ;). Of course if you already had a CD key you could just plug that in.

Agreed. I just wish they would make the whole upgrade experience a lot more cost effective and streamlined for the customer. I made the mistake of buying the digital download version of a 64 bit Vista install, thinking that i could upgrade easily from my 32 bit install. Unfortunately i didn't realise that the installer has to be run from a 64 bit o/s (eg XP or Vista) and won't run from a 32 bit install. Of course i'd already parted with my hard-earned cash at this stage and the only option then is to pay extra for an install CD. Why it isn't possible to design an installer to run on 32 bit versions of XP/Vista is beyond me and has left me a bit disillusioned with MS.

Compare that experience with the Linux distros i've tried out over the last few years, where you just pick 32 bit or 64 bit and download the .iso from the website.
Skiddywinks 24th May 2009, 08:20 Quote
Quote:
Originally Posted by frontline
Agreed. I just wish they would make the whole upgrade experience a lot more cost effective and streamlined for the customer. I made the mistake of buying the digital download version of a 64 bit Vista install, thinking that i could upgrade easily from my 32 bit install. Unfortunately i didn't realise that the installer has to be run from a 64 bit o/s (eg XP or Vista) and won't run from a 32 bit install. Of course i'd already parted with my hard-earned cash at this stage and the only option then is to pay extra for an install CD. Why it isn't possible to design an installer to run on 32 bit versions of XP/Vista is beyond me and has left me a bit disillusioned with MS.

I don't see why you couldn't have burned what you downloaded to a DVD. Surely that would have worked? Booting from before Windows loads is whatever environment you wanted (x86 or x64) I thought? Otherwise how would any install disc work if it already required a 64 bit install? Installs would have to be written on in the first place when the HDD was manufactured!

All you will have forked out for, I suspect, was a disc based version of what you downloaded.
Dreaming 24th May 2009, 14:49 Quote
Quote:
Originally Posted by Skiddywinks
Quote:
Originally Posted by frontline
Agreed. I just wish they would make the whole upgrade experience a lot more cost effective and streamlined for the customer. I made the mistake of buying the digital download version of a 64 bit Vista install, thinking that i could upgrade easily from my 32 bit install. Unfortunately i didn't realise that the installer has to be run from a 64 bit o/s (eg XP or Vista) and won't run from a 32 bit install. Of course i'd already parted with my hard-earned cash at this stage and the only option then is to pay extra for an install CD. Why it isn't possible to design an installer to run on 32 bit versions of XP/Vista is beyond me and has left me a bit disillusioned with MS.

I don't see why you couldn't have burned what you downloaded to a DVD. Surely that would have worked? Booting from before Windows loads is whatever environment you wanted (x86 or x64) I thought? Otherwise how would any install disc work if it already required a 64 bit install? Installs would have to be written on in the first place when the HDD was manufactured!

All you will have forked out for, I suspect, was a disc based version of what you downloaded.

I am guessing the direct install is just an executable you run inside the operating system. But all the same, I can't see any justifiable reason for Microsoft to restrict access to the install media. Windows will notify you plenty if you haven't put in a CD key, and it's probably one of the only discs most people with a PC have, so it's not like you can't get it from somewhere else.

Just like linux, except after install it prompts you that you need to activate. You go to activate, it comes up with a menu:
"Enter CD Key"
"Purchase Single User Licence"
"Purchase Home (3x user) Licence"

Or something like that. Then they could just spam out their CDs in the post to all and sundry, people pop the CD in and it asks if they want to upgrade, they say yes, then they play on the new OS and buy it or revert back.

I don't see the major pitfall with this strategy, the average Joe doesn't know anything about cracking activation methods and the people that do know will already know how easy it is to get an .iso from other sources. So the only people they are inconveniencing by not having a back-catalogue of all install media for consumers is their legitimate customers.

Linux: 1
Windows: 0
BLC 26th May 2009, 14:21 Quote
Quote:
Originally Posted by Skiddywinks
I don't see why you couldn't have burned what you downloaded to a DVD. Surely that would have worked? Booting from before Windows loads is whatever environment you wanted (x86 or x64) I thought? Otherwise how would any install disc work if it already required a 64 bit install? Installs would have to be written on in the first place when the HDD was manufactured!

All you will have forked out for, I suspect, was a disc based version of what you downloaded.

I'm by no means an expert on the subject, but I would suggest that it's because of the pre-installation environment required to install it (have been doing some experimenting with customised/strealined/etc installs). Full retail discs may include the environment required to start the installation binaries, where special upgrade editions can simply omit this or be configured to work only under specific environments (i.e., an already installed operating system). It may be possible to customise an upgrade edition to boot from a pre-installation environment such as Bart PE, but this would require some serious hacking/modification, and is out of the reach of the average consumer.

This isn't actually a new tactic; I can remember upgrade versions of WinXP and even WinME & Win2K that would not boot from CD - you had to start the install from an already installed version of windows. Despite the fact that, effectively, a whole new OS distribution was installed and, accordingly, included on the discs - WinXP & Win2K architectures are completely incompatible with anything that went before, so the old OS could not actually be "upgraded" as such (unlike going from Win95 to Win98, where some parts of the old OS could be re-used).

FWIW, I agree with Dreaming; allow people free access to the OS install media and charge simply for the licence - after all, when I purchase Windows, I'm not actually "buying" the software, I'm paying for the right to use it. Piracy is already rife with all Windows versions, so they've got nothing to fear there. Also, make it easier to install from USB - Linux *definitely* wins in this regard! I can get a Live USB Linux distro set up with a single click - the software automatically writes the install image to the USB drive and is usable straight away. Windows installs via USB are rather more complex...

And who the hell would design a 64-bit upgrade version to only work from a 64-bit OS? The only 64-bit Windows consumer OS available before Vista was XP-x64 - that was a nightmare as there was no support for it at all... Chances are, you're going to be going from 32-bit to 64-bit...
Xir 26th May 2009, 21:30 Quote
Who cares as it won't be interesting before SP1 anyway :D
[PUNK] crompers 29th May 2009, 13:13 Quote
Quote:
Originally Posted by Xir
Who cares as it won't be interesting before SP1 anyway :D

not neccesarily true, remember this isnt a complete rebuild like vista (or like vista was supposed to be) this is more of a buff up of vista, so the basic OS is the same and as a result is very stable. i should imagine SP1 will be just security updates and maybe some DX stuff.
tuaamin13 8th June 2009, 23:40 Quote
Yeah I'm a few days late here, but I wanted to chime in about the 64 bit upgrade version. The way Microsoft markets it, I think the intention is to go from [version] to [better version] as in [Premium] to [Ultimate]. That's what the upgrade install is for.

When you jump instruction sets (x86 to x86_64) you're looking for trouble. I wouldn't recommend it, and instead you should probably clean install, even if you had a 32 bit binary to run.
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