Microsoft has finally revealed some pricing details for its upcoming Windows 7 operating system here in the UK, and it's an interesting mixture of good news and bad.
The good news, as revealed by the chaps over at Trusted Reviews
, is that from today onwards anyone buying a new PC running Windows Vista will be granted a free upgrade to Windows 7 at launch. The upgrade is like for like – so Vista Home Premium gets Windows 7 Home Premium, Windows Vista Business gets Windows 7 Professional, and Windows Vista Ultimate gets Windows 7 Ultimate – but requires you to have purchased your machine from an “accredited Microsoft dealer
.” The programme will be available on all qualifying PCs purchased between now and January 2010, with the upgrade voucher requiring redemption before February 2010.
The bad news, sadly, soon follows: the voucher scheme represents the only
upgrade path. Unlike previous versions, Windows 7 will not feature retail boxed upgrade editions in Europe – with only a full, standalone copy of each edition on offer. The reason for this, according to Microsoft, is that the Europe release is missing Internet Explorer 8
– and the company claims an upgrade edition would bring IE over from the original OS, possibly raising the ire of the European Commission.
The news takes another dip into the negative by not offering any cheap upgrade path for Windows Vista Ultimate users disappointed that their rather expensive OS turned out a trifle overwhelming – and is soon to be made redundant.
It's not all bad, however: in order to make up for the lack of upgrade potential, Microsoft will be running a promotion that will see Windows 7 E (for Europe) Home Premium being sold for £49.99 and Windows 7 E Professional retailing at £79.99 – the same prices as the current Windows Vista upgrade editions – if you pre-order
between the 15th of July and the 14th of August. If you miss the deal, you'll get a second shot at Windows 7 E Home Premium between the 22nd of October and the 31st of December, when it'll be sold at the discounted price of £79.99.
This is the cheapest you'll be able to get Windows 7 for – if we discount the 'free' voucher-based upgrade scheme for new PCs. The standard retail pricing for the OS sees the top-end Ultimate edition hitting £229.99 – the same as Vista Ultimate – with Professional a smidgen cheaper at £219.99. Windows 7 E Home Premium will be hitting shelves at £149.99 – undercutting the Vista equivalent by £20.
The official launch date is the 22nd of October, at which point all versions of Windows 7 will be made available in 14 languages. If you're one of the unlucky few reading this through Google Translate, you'll have to wait until the 31st for the language count to hit the final score of 31.
Sadly – but predictably – there is no easy upgrade path from the Release Candidate versions of Windows 7, with beta testers being expected to completely reformat and re-install once they've picked up a retail copy.
Will you be picking Windows 7 come the launch date, or is the pricing – and lack of an upgrade edition – putting you off? Share your thoughts over in the forums