back to article Microsoft's Windows 7 price gamble - and why it's flawed

Microsoft is gambling it can saturate consumers with Home Premium editions of Windows 7, hoping to dislodge Apple and milk customers over the long term. But Microsoft's Windows 7 price strategy is plagued by contradiction. On Friday, Microsoft said it's discounting the list price on Windows 7 again, this time for netbook users …

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  1. A. F. Fero
    Linux

    Linux return rates

    In a generally interesting article...

    it was disappointing that the long since debunked "more Linux netbooks returned" story had been reasserted

    similarly with the suggestion that netbooks were insufficiently powerful for Linux. I happily stream video on an Acer Aspire one, I don't edit it, what more power do I need?

  2. Paul
    Stop

    netbooks and windows

    we bought a netbook for our on-call staff, complete with integrated 3G dongle, made by a reputable maker also known for TVs, phones and domestic appliances sold by a Very cOmmon Fone provider.

    the first thing we did was wipe windowsXP to install Ubuntu - decided to try Netbook Remix:

    http://www.ubuntu.com/GetUbuntu/download-netbook

    it was *so* easy to install, we left a chunk of disk there for XP "just in case", but UNR detected the 3G dongle set up the network, detected the wifi and it all worked *perfectly* out of the box, the upshot is that there's no need for XP at all. There's no way we'd waste any money on VistaSP3, er Windows7!

  3. Neil Anderson
    Grenade

    Don't forget Chrome

    And before long, Chrome will be hitting the low end.

  4. This post has been deleted by a moderator

  5. Steve the Cynic

    A title is required

    "and whether customers care to upgrade to Windows 8"

    And also, in the shortish term, whether the average man in the street is willing to upgrade from Windows 7 to Windows 7, because that's what upgrading from Starter to Home Premium is likely to mean for most people.

  6. Eponymous Cowherd
    Gates Horns

    Family pack

    ***"the Family Pack will be priced $149.99, and it will let you install Windows 7 Home Premium on three home PCs."***

    Why 3? How did they come up with the idea that a "family" would have 3 PCs?

    Personally my family has 4. One each. So this isn't a lot of use to me.

    But then I'm using the Ubuntu "family pack". Priced at £0.00 and can be installed on as many computers as I like.

  7. john008
    Paris Hilton

    Linux? 'fraid not

    I wish it were so - I thought, when I bought my little Acer, that Linux on netbooks was going to cause some ripples - I had fond fantasies of catastrophic, panicked pricing action from Microsoft slowing, yet not stopping, the inevitable decline until XP cost four pounds fifty. Alas. Not to be.

    Just google to see how difficult it is to get wi-fi, multi-monitors or sound (a microphone? no way!) working properly on netbooks with Linux. Not advanced stuff, just stuff that Paris would, and should, expect to 'just work'.

    Linux on netbooks is a toy, in that it's designed for people that want to play with it. Not to compete with Microsoft for the love of a good woman.

  8. Matt 53
    Jobs Halo

    Glad that MS takes Apple seriously

    Apple may have a small market share, but it has a big impact on Microsoft. I'm a 100% Windows user so I dread to think how much more expensive and less innovative (!!) Win7 would have been without any competition. Thanks, Apple.

  9. Wonko the Sane

    As long as supplies last?

    "This is a limited time offer and will run until supplies run out."

    Wow, MS has invented physical software, they produce 1000 copies, they must sell 1000 copies. What will Ballmer think of next?

    I very much doubt MS users are going to upgrade in significant numbers since most are scared to death of changing their machines lest they turn into bricks.

  10. N2 Silver badge

    Same old bollox

    Even if it was perfect, which it isnt, I wouldnt buy it because I no longer trust Microsoft.

  11. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    Rumour has it...

    If this pricing strategy isn't perfect, this will surely be the year of Linux on the desktop!

  12. Jules 1

    Nothing to to with apple

    I seriously doubt that many apple users are going to be tempted to dump OSX and install WIndows 7 on their intel macs for a $10 price difference. Plus they need to already own an XP or Vista license to even qualify for that price that's a pretty small segment of the market.

    Apple is only really a competitor in the new PC market since OSX can only be legally installed on Apple hardware. The $119 price point makes much more sense as an attempt to get all those millions of XP users who skipped Vista up finally upgrade.

  13. Shades

    Whats with...

    all this $ crap everywhere? Last time I checked The Registers domain was .co.uk and not .com. At the very least you could use "£x ($x)". Afterall, this is an English IT website is it not? Anyway...

    Basic gist of the story: Microsoft want to sell crap, no-one is really interested in crap, crap is forced upon people on new PC's, people wonder why "My PC won't do X?", people look at Apple PCs and see they do X without the need for an "upgrade", more people switch to Apple, Apple make more funny adverts, Microsofts answer is to release 5,000,000 different versions of Windows 8.

  14. H2Nick
    WTF?

    This is a limited time offer and will run until supplies run out.

    Yep - after 100 copies it's broken & can be copied no more...

    How the f@ck can "supplies" of software run out ???

  15. Anonymous Coward
    Paris Hilton

    For me, it's not the pricing that's the issue...

    I'd pay the asking price. no, for me, it's the activation.

    I keep one windows box- the others are all *nix and macs. The windows machine is at home, and used for games. Because it's nice to turn everything up to "11", the hardware gets upgraded pretty regularly.

    If this means that I will have to constantly phone Microsoft up for permission to use my own computer after changing the video card, moving the OS to SSDs etc, then I going to damn well use a cracked version.

    If it turns out that they have dropped that bullshit, and I can use my windows box the same way as I use my other computers, then fine, I will pony up for one of the more expensive flavours of win 7- as the beta hasn't been too bad

    However, if they're set on treating users like naughty children, then I shall make sure that I behave like one, and pirate the damn thing.

  16. Mike Cardwell

    wont undercut osx

    Windows 7 will not undercut OSX. Check out how muxh Snow Leopard is going to cost. It is considerably cheaper.

  17. Anonymous Coward
    IT Angle

    The bigger story

    So lowering the price of Windows 7 is somehow going to hurt Microsoft's market share? Or are you talking about Microsoft's bottom line in quarterly statements? They aren't the same thing, which you mention, but then what's the article about again?

    Your final paragraph with your conclusions doesn't seem to follow from any of your pricing analysis. If anything, the article improved my opinion of Microsoft's pricing strategy, not the opposite, heck, the article almost read like a product placement ad! The only thing missing was a "[Buy Family Pack Here]" hyperlink.

    And with the performance and security of Win7 looking good in the RTM reviews, even on netbooks, these pricing issues seem trivial. The bigger story, it seems, is how the whole Vista screw-up opened a door for Apple and how netbooks opened another one for Linux, but that these doors are closing with the RTM of Windows 7. You hint at some larger issues in the last sentence, but then all this doesn't have much to do with "pricing contradictions".

  18. Dom 3

    But...

    who ever actually *buys* an O/S for a home computer? People buy a computer. It comes with an O/S. They use it until the computer dies or until a nephew turns up with a cracked copy of XP. There's still (nephew-less) people out there running Windows 95.

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  20. Anonymous Coward
    Linux

    Netbooks with Linux proving fine.

    I have two customers with Dell Mini 10v (as recommended by The Register), with Ubuntu Linux netbook remix operating system.

    I get few support calls & the customer's netbook gets no viruses or slowdown over time.

    Linux on netbooks is proving an ideal marriage IMO.

    No need for proprietary lock-in and the associated costs.

  21. Destroy All Monsters Silver badge
    Alert

    Half the Number of the Beast in Euro!

    "$299.99 for a brand-new version of Windows 7 Professional."

    This translates to € 309,90 (incl. 19% VAT) for a brand-new version of Windows 7 Professional E (whatever that is) on my preferred Internet shop. This means that local retail will have a 10% markup on top of that.

    Uh ... no thanks.

    When Windows is available for € 30 for a full version, a reduction by an order of magnitude in price, then we will be talking. Hey, an OS is supposed to be a commodity these days, right?

    Meanwhile, Windows 2K and Linux is the ticket.

  22. Derek Hellam
    Jobs Halo

    Lost the plot

    I've thought that Microsoft lost the plot a long time ago. This just confirms it. Do they really think that people will ditch/change operating systems just because of a price difference between them? Microsoft where never really good at innovating, and now they just seem to react to the market or flounder. They seem to be peopled by non people, mindless grinning corporate stuffed shirts, led by that cretin Balmer. I won't call him an ape or Baboon, as its insulting to them. But a buffoon, yes. Windows 7 is there to correct the mistake that is Vista. But if you are happy with XP why change?

  23. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    Windows 7 pricing

    I have a nice tftp display and can upgrade to a very reasonable desktop PC without OS for about £250. I cannot justify spending the same again (or more) on operating system and applications.

  24. Anonymous Coward
    WTF?

    Apples and Bananas

    How can you compare the software upgrades?

    If I want to upgrade the OS on my PC, can I choose between OSX and Windows 7? Nope.

    If I want to upgrade the (primary) OS on my Mac, can I choose? Nope.

    This article makes it sound like your average punter will be sitting down and saying "Should I upgrade to W7 or OSX". Even when purchasing new hardware, the average punter won't be thinking about which system is cheaper to upgrade the OS in a couple of years time (less for mac).

  25. Jim Murphy

    Maybe not flawed...Vista ring a bell?

    While I think that Steve Balmer is a complete moron, I wouldn't say M$'s new discount pricing is flawed, at least for western (developed) markets. More on that in a minute. Why? Because under Balmer's watch M$ screwed everyone, customers and partners alike, with the Vista abomination and it will take a long time before that fiasco is forgotten. Don't forget, discounting cures a lot of ills. What else could they do, especially in this global recession?

    I think the second reason they're having to lower prices is that Windows 7 is only evolutionary and not revolutionary. It does have some nice new features to make mundane chores a bit easier but M$ apparently concentrated on speed and efficiency, not new eye candy nor dazzling new apps. which would surely help sales. The only down side I've noticed so far is Internet Explorer 8. What a POS!!! It just locks up completely periodically. And the ironic thing is that it is a disaster on MSN hosted websites where it is supposed to be the bees knees. Go figure.

    Other than Internet Exploder 8 being crappy I think they've learned a little bit since Vista. I've been using Windows 7 for quite a while now, first the beta and now the release candidate. It's even faster than my WinXP installation and runs cooler with less CPU and GPU cycles on the same computer. I don't dual boot, I just swap out hard drive trays to switch between them so the installations are completely independent. And yes, I do monitor temps and CPU/GPU loading to keep my trusty aging laptop running smoothly. Is Windows 7 compelling enough to finally uproot all the diehard WinXP users? Only time will tell.

    Let's talk about pricing for emerging or developing nations. I'm an American expat living in Thailand and it is considered a developing nation. Piracy of Windows, movie DVD's, and even pharmceuticals is common because of flawed pricing policies by especially U.S. corporations. The upper end salary for the average Thai is less than $300 U.S. dollars/week but more commonly it is closer to $200. Even if you could buy low end Windows 7 without trade-in for the discounted price of $79.99, much less $119.99, it wouldn't help much. It is just way beyond what these people are willing or able to pay. Of course, Thailand is just one of many emerging nations requiring ultra low prices to gain market share. Is it really worth it?

    Ah, the trials and tribulations of global commerce. One suggestion is to get rid of Ballmer. What an idiot!!!!

    Jimbo in Thailand

  26. Anonymous Coward
    FAIL

    Apple's pricing changes slightly come September

    as a Snow Leopard client upgrade from Leopard will be only $29 ($49 for a five-user family licence), while a full version for Tiger hold-outs will run $169 ($229 for five users), in the form of a Mac Box Set with iLife and iWork thrown in.

    The most delusional aspect of Microsoft's increasingly bizarre behaviour (particularly over the last week of whack-job prognostications from Monkey Boy) is that it seems to believe it's operating in the same chunk of the market as Apple, and therefore must respond. Does MS have access to some super-secret Apple netbook prototypes that nobody else know about?

  27. J 3
    WTF?

    Weird analysis

    Microsoft is discounting due to Apple, really? Makes no sense at all, from where I stand.

    Who's ever bought Apple to save money!?

    Or is the whole think based on Hackintoshers, the only people to buy OS X without having paid the substantial premium for the hardware already?

    Another aside:

    "instead of just browsing the web or checking email"

    Will someone then point out to the suckers that they could have saved >$50 (as far as rumors go) off the laptop's price if they could have got a machine with any free OS, any of which more than good enough to "just browse the web" and "check email"? And that they will now have to spend quite some *additional* money to be able to do more (which the free OSs would have been capable of too, considering the capabilities of "netbooks")?

  28. Ty Cobb
    Grenade

    MS Should have hired Rooster Teeth

    Microsoft should have hired Rooster Teeth to answer the I'm a Mac ads a loooong time ago:

    http://roosterteeth.com/archive/episode.php?id=118

  29. Rob Clive
    Jobs Horns

    Conversion rates?

    A dizzying array of prices, but how will they convert for the UK? Will MS do the same as Vista and use 1 dollar = 1 pound, because of the 'higher cost of doing business'? And carry on stuffing us all over Europe just like they and a lot of American companies always have.

  30. Wibble
    Badgers

    Look who *chooses* Apple over Microsoft

    Apple may be insignificant in absolute turnover terms, but look at the people who *choose* Apple over Microsoft: senior people and independent consultants. Look in any Airport lounge.

    No mention of VMs as a source of competition for Microsoft; VMs tend to remove the need to upgrade as they're often installed as one-trick-ponies, e.g. for a specific task. Then the OS really isn't significant any longer.

  31. Winkypop Silver badge
    FAIL

    But...

    ....I already have an OS, and it works just dandy thank you.

    Bye

  32. blackworx
    Dead Vulture

    Either...

    ...it's too early on a Sunday morning or my brain isn't functioning, but I found this article practically unreadable. I understood it fine, but it felt like the whole thing had been written by smashing up some words and numbers with a rubber mallet.

  33. kerjeman

    XP works fine - why spend more?

    XP Home came with (and works just fine) on my new, cheap netbook, thanks, which is a major reason why I bought it. Everything is also nicely compatible with XP Pro on my home desktop and on my work PC.

    Why should I gamble more of my time, money, and effort "upgrading" to Windows 7? http://www.theregister.co.uk/Design/graphics/icons/comment/thumb_down_32.png

    In a slowing global economy, Microsoft needs to play the cards dealt to it by their customers, not the other way 'round.

  34. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    Rearranging the deck chairs

    I'm happy to see that Steve is busy moving (and not throwing) the deck chairs.

    Bon voyage!

  35. Nigel Wright

    Linux is already well ahead...

    ...in functionality and is much easier on the hardware in terms of resources.

    No extra software is needed to be purchased - it's already there are part of a distro or can be downloaded using the package manager.

    It's easier on resources and runs in far less memory - it will run well within 512MB of RAM.

    The problem Linux faces is the lack of familiarity people have. Windows is by and large the same across all versions as far as a user experience is concerned. Therefore, people are very familiar with it and tend to struggle with Linux because it's not the same as Windows.

    This is what LInux has to overcome. People don't understand that they can't install Windows applications in a Linux system, but neither are they aware that there is also likely to be a Linux alternative that works just as well.

  36. Whistleberry

    Looking forward few weeks

    While I agree with the analysis of Windows pricing it misses the fact that Apple already announced that Snow Leopard will be priced at $29, with family pack also available when it is released in a few weeks time. So where does that leave the Microsoft strategy?

    I suspect we will have XP running on netbooks for a decade or so....

  37. Anonymous Coward
    Stop

    Wait, what?

    Well, so what if Apple's OS X Family Pack works out cheaper than Windows? It's completely irrelevant, since the ordinary punter is thoroughly dissuaded from purchasing Apple by the mind-bending price tags, and the more informed of us don't see why we should lay out major money on what is, under the pretty facade, nasty odf tat from the notorious Foxconn and similar purveyors of horrible components.

  38. johnB

    But what's in it for me ?

    W95 gave me a half-way decent screen interface;

    W98 gave me easy access to the Interweb;

    XP gave me the use of USB (or was it the other way round ?);

    Vista gave me...a prettier screen ?

    What's the in it for me to migrate to W8 ?

    Please will someone (preferably not from MS) tell me ?

  39. johnB

    Did I say W8?

    If so I meant W7.

  40. Anonymous Coward
    Linux

    Lost money...

    From my experience of consumer and business purchases of Apple equipment nearly 1/2 of the Apples computers going out the door are sold with a copy or XP/Vista and Parrallels or setup for bootcamp. The business machines go out with an even higher attach of XP than domestic. So I don't think Microsoft are that high when they talk of not loosing money to Apple.

    Anyhow I look forward to OS X 10.6 and Windows 7! it should be a good year for all. Linux fanbois I forget you not - but you get your new toys so frequently wrapped and rewrapped that it gets dizzying. Yet that kid with the BSD distro will always be more geeky and faster when the benchamarks roll...

    ** The black white and yellow one because he wanted in on the action **

  41. Paul Johnston

    Upgrade

    All this about upgrade prices is well and good but who using Windows actually buys an upgrade.

    Most people will use what's on the machine they bought and eventually move up when they get a new one. History suggests newer OS's need more power so why would you pay to add something which the perception is will slow them down.

    The idea of a killer app making people upgrade is all well and good but not seen one of them in a long time!

  42. Henry Wertz 1 Gold badge

    good luck with that

    Well, good luck with that.

    1) I don't know anyone who's ever bought one of those upgrades.

    2) Microsoft plans to sell this crippled version of Windows for netbooks.

    3) Ubuntu costs less than any Windows version -- it's about $50 less than XP, which Microsoft already heavily discounts. That's getting up towards 25% the cost of the machine!

    4) I think therefore the tides will turn -- people will not get a crippled-Windows netbook and buy a Windows upgrade; they will return it instead and get a Linux netbook.

    ----

    As a further note, the info Microsoft has on high Linux netbook return rates is FUD FUD FUD!!! A Dell rep a while back commented the return rate for the Linux and Windows mini 9s was similar -- what Microsoft says is literally true, the Linux netbook return rate is high, but whatn they omit is the *Windows* netbook return rate is similarly high. People get it and find the keyboard's too small, screen's too small, it's not as fast as they expected, etc. etc. and return them.

  43. paul brain
    FAIL

    clueless

    Name one person who upgraded from XP home -> Pro

    No one will upgrade , what for ? , 99% of people will just stick to what they bought on the machine.

    One single version would have been nice , two at a push . but who here isn't confused already by the 50 versions , did they learn nothing about vi$ta

  44. jason 7
    WTF?

    But why????

    Is it so important to keep harping on about the upgrade cost from HP7 to Ultimate7?

    Why would folks do this? 99% of home users dont need Ultimate anyway. In fact if most folks that feel they need Ulitmate were honest with themselves...they dont need it either.

  45. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    The Microsoft Business Model

    Microsoft's entire model is to issue software that is not good enough, so people pay money for the next "improvement".

    There. It didn't take me two pages to say what you were trying to!

  46. Anonymous Coward
    FAIL

    Please clarify...

    How a consumer will steer away from OSX because 7 is 10$ cheaper. I can imaging someone deciding to upgrade XP or vista based on the price, but I don't see someone dumping a Macbook or IMac and buying a new laptop because the OS is 10$ cheaper.

  47. elderlybloke
    Happy

    Do you need it?

    If what you have does the job, why spend money on the latest shiny new model?

    My car is 18 years old , but it does what I want and I see no need to spend large amount of money on the latest shape of car that will do the same job.

  48. Tom 35

    I bet

    The few who bought a copy of Vista are not happy with the cost of an upgrade to 7 (Vista that works).

  49. troost

    we need 50 dollars windows 7

    here in mexico the average person earns 50 to 100 dollars a week, then I need 4 weeks to be without eating, if i want to pay a license for Windows 7. instead the pirated windows costs 5 dollars. therefore there is no comparison if Windows 7 will cost me 50 bucks i will buy the original because it's just a work week and the remaining 3 weeks for my expenses but microsoft would prefer not earn any money that goes to the hands of piracy to gain $ 50 if prices fall http://www.theregister.co.uk/Design/graphics/icons/comment/unhappy_32.png

  50. frymaster

    Don't think MS is wanting to drive upgrades to win7 pro

    ... i think they are wanting to drive upgrades from pirated versions to legit. At the discounted prices, I know a lot of people who buy computers as components who are taking the plunge

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  52. Stan Smith
    WTF?

    What Microsoft has to do to beat OS X?

    Uh, how about remove the copy protection, artificially hobbled versions, and upgrade-only copies? A single OS X license might be more expensive, but you get a full copy of everything OS X has to offer.

    Still not sure why they feel they're competing with Apple anyway - with Apple's small market share, they're just acting like the anti-competitive bastards they've always been.

    But I do love Windows 7 for my gaming machine....

  53. James O'Brien
    Paris Hilton

    Im Confused

    If someone can shed some light on this for me...

    I took advantage of the pre-order for Windows 7 Professional when they were having the half off pre-order. That cost me $99 for my copy instead of the MSRP of $199. Now it sounds like they are lowering the price if you have Windows Vista Ultimate (or the equivalent to the Win7 version you are getting) or lowering the price overall. So wtf am I missing here. Are they lowering the price even more or did I miss something?

    /I may get accused of being a troll but Ive been sleeping on my desk all day at work and am a little out of it because of how dead it is here....to many numbers after a 7 hour nap make my brain hurt :)

  54. Stan Smith
    WTF?

    Microsoft having to compete with Apple's OS?

    Uh, how about remove the copy protection, artificially hobbled versions, and upgrade-only copies? A single OS X license might be more expensive, but you get a full copy of everything OS X has to offer.

    Still not sure why they feel they're competing with Apple anyway - with Apple's small market share, Microsoft is just proving to be the anti-competitive bastards they've always been.

    But I do love Windows 7 for my gaming machine....

  55. danny_0x98

    But...

    Microsoft and Apple only compete regarding the operating system when a new system is sold. You have an XP or Vista Dell and OS X is not a choice.

    As for established markets not having piracy, the current user of XP or Vista doesn't have to spend for an upgrade unless they see value. In addition, Microsoft couldn't or wouldn't make the XP to Win7 upgrade slam dunk easy. There will be reinstallation of software. Some XP users still have underpowered systems and would have to pay to beef them up. I say you put it all together, apply actions speak louder than words, and Microsoft still would rather you buy a new machine with Win7.

    Finally, while Messrs. Ballmer and Turner profess confidence that with Lauren et al they have finally turned the advertising tables, I can imagine a devastating "I'm a Mac, I'm a PC" ad this fall. As poor PC ponders the prices, limiited deals, rules, upgrade paths, feature sets, and who may buy which version of Win7, he offers his sympathy to Mac because he's facing an upgrade. "Oh," Mac points out "one Snow Leopard, one price, and it has all the features and no software reinstallation and product key wrangling." Complex vs. Simple. It's classic.

  56. thomas k.

    upgrading Win7 netbooks?

    Assuming that Windows 7 will be shipping, and running decently, on netbooks that have the same specs as the netbooks currently running XP (and I've seen no real indications that the specs are going to change significantly anytime soon), will MS be offering discounts to us existing netbook owners who would be interested in upgrading from XP?

  57. Flocke Kroes Silver badge

    What competition on price?

    Mac OS X is only licensed for use on Apple hardware. Microsoft's Vista hardware compatibility site shows "Unknown" for iMac. (Is there a Windows 8 compatibility page?)

    http://www.microsoft.com/windows/compatibility/Search.aspx?type=Hardware&s=apple%20mac

    How can you compare prices for software that will not available for the same hardware?

    Does the absence of a clear positive statement of compatibility mean there is no demand for Windows on Apple hardware? It could mean Microsoft are afraid of people comparing the two operating systems on common hardware.

  58. jake Silver badge

    During the meanwhile ...

    By the time Windows 7 ships, I'll probably be running Slackware 13. For free.

    (Well, not entirely free ... I have been submitting bug reports for -current for a dozen years or so, and I always purchase "official" media from the Slackware store, just to give something back).

  59. Tony Paulazzo
    Pirate

    US centric news

    Because, of course, here in the UK, the family pack has been delayed to...whenever (because it's the full E version, natch), with no price point set, whilst, on Amazon at least, the cheap pre order price has risen to £69.93.

    And of course, no favours to those burned on Vista.

    I really don't understand their war with Apple, or even linux. The market shares are tiny and aimed at different segments; Linux for the problem solvers who love writing web pages on how to get sound working thru' Ubuntu, and Apple for the upwardly mobile who favour style over... heh, not going there, who just want to get their job done (or, you know, play Sims3).

    MS sell to the hardware, PCWorld and Walmart crowd with 90%(?) market share. Yea, they maybe lost to the iPod thing, but they got the X360 crowd.

  60. Anonymous Coward
    Paris Hilton

    Apple are insignificant...but MS just can't keep their eyes off them

    Globally, Apple's share is insignificant. People who buy Apple hardware know exactly what they are buying into. They're buying a Mac, and they're fully aware of the implications/benefits that come with it. And in the scheme of things, and as probably expected by Apple, it's only a few million people every year who ever make that choice.

    But the irony here of course is that Ballmer talks about Apple being small, but yet he and Turner just can't stop talking about them.

    And I just don't understand why.

  61. Ole Juul

    Limited edition?

    "... it will let you install Windows 7 Home Premium on three home PCs. This is a limited time offer and will run until supplies run out."

    That's funny.

  62. Neil Barnes Silver badge
    Alert

    So why might I want to give MS some money...

    In an effort to be fair, I googled 'windows 7' and the first hit was http://windows.microsoft.com/en-us/windows7/products/what-is?os=other - ok, they've noticed I'm not using windows, so far so good.

    Not a lot of content on the page, but 'see what makes it different' looked a possibility and took me to ../why-choose?os=other (I elide for brevity) and I note once again the 'os=other' observation. On this page I am offered three reasons:

    (a) simplifies everyday tasks;

    - I can share music (presumably non-DRM-encumbered, though that's not stated), documents, printers, and 'everything else' (viruses?) with other PCs running W7 in the house. And presumably anyone else in range of my wireless network.

    (b) works the way I want;

    - apparently, I want it to sleep and resume faster, and to support 64-bit and multicore processors. I can't help feeling that it'll have to work hard to improve on the couple of seconds my current OS takes (an OS that also knows about 64 bit processors and multicores).

    (c) make new things possible

    - I'll be able to connect to networks with a couple of clicks; just like I can now. With the right hardware I'll be able to use Windows Touch to flip through files and even 'paint'. Since I can connect to networks with a couple of clicks now, and I don't have the hardware for Touch, this is hardly a compelling reason.

    Ho-hum. We proceed. There's an interesting looking link - take a tour. First thing it does is ask me to install a windows media plugin, but it seems to work without it (so why did it ask?). Apparently, the target market can't read anything like a document, so we have to waste bandwidth with a chirpy young lady telling me what I could have read. I'm particularly impressed with the new facility to 'just type the name of the programme' - didn't that used to be called a command line?

    Ahh, I can't go on. Having suffered the remaining videos, I'm told of 'ooh, windows that snap to the edge of the screen' and 'ooh, favourites done in a new way' and 'ooh, frequently used documents' and 'ooh, view one computer's contents from another'. No mention of how to stop people viewing my documents from another computer, no mention of security, no mention of virus protection, no mention of firewalls, no mention of DRM, no mention of network storage or network printers - surely a far more logical method of remote services than having to keep a computer turned on all the time?

    I'm obviously not the target audience. I can certainly see no compelling reason to send MS lots of dollars to tie myself down to their latest and greatest. The only reason I'm ever likely to see this is the next time I buy a computer and MS have persuaded the maker not to ship bare machines.

    Bah.

    The model isn't flawed, it's broken. But MS can't survive without forcing regular upgrades/updates down people's throats, hence an unending cycle of unnecessary and unwanted changes that suffice only to break perfectly workable, usable, and above all familiar applications on a regular basis.

    Stand by for the new, improved, and incompatible Windows 8.

  63. This post has been deleted by a moderator

  64. Anonymous Coward
    FAIL

    Pay now, pay later?

    Or another way of putting it, buy our crippled products now and we will make sure you have to pay us to upgrade in the near future.

    SUCKS! The vendors want it because it will allow them to punt cheaper PCs. Microsoft want to do it for the reasons stated in the article.

    With Chrome on the horizon and Linux (Ubuntu) becoming a more and more attractive alternative for home PCs. I'm amazed that Microsoft don't try to do something good and straight up rather than underhanded manipulation like this.

    Still, it's their money. It's just a shame that we end up using the tat.

  65. Paul Randle
    Linux

    Upgrade?

    If I buy a new PC today, I can upgrade to Ubuntu ulitmate for $0.00. This will give me better security, better multi-tasking, better memory management, and access to thousands of free-as-in-beer applications. And get a free upgrade to the next version in October. Or choose from many other free Linux distros.

    Or I could just get a mac and forget about hardware, operating systems and all that religious nonsense and just get on with using it.

  66. dervheid
    FAIL

    How F**king Much?

    Note to Microsft:

    In case you haven't noticed, there's a f**king Global Recession going on right now, people are NOT going to pay your, frankly, rip-off prices. I run both XP and Ubuntu, quite happy where I am with them right now. So unless you're going to pitch your pricing a LOT more realistically (I'd suggest around £40 for a single, full version of W7 Home Premium), my guess is people are going to say "HOW MUCH!? Eh, no"

  67. Ben Tasker Silver badge
    Badgers

    Come Again?

    "This should mean users are able to do more than just work the web on their machines."

    So netbooks will become small laptops. This kinda misses the point that in essence a netbook is supposed to be a device for surfing the web, managing e-mails and not a lot else. Even if they could reasonably match the power of a highish end laptop in such a small form factor, who would want to use such a small keyboard all day?

    Things should improve with ARM, but I still have no interest in a netbook that pretends to be a laptop. To me, my netbook is a utility, as opposed to a computer. OK so I've chucked a text editor on there for if I'm feeling code happy, but other than that, it's browse the net, check e-mails, and that's it.

    It does what I want, and it's going to take something really good to get me to replace it. Making it more like a tiny laptop doesn't qualify in my books.

  68. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    I won't fall for that.

    Why, because like the other x million Freetards, I shall piarate it at a torrent site, and then join the other Freetards who comment on here, eg the Linux camp, and complain like buggery how useless M$ is, and that anyone who'd ever consider buying an OS must be in need of cerebral transplant.

  69. Martin Owens

    Improve

    Well apart from the massive amounts of adv... I mean news stories surrounding Microsoft Windows 7 and comparing that to the number of news stories about Apple or Ubuntu... well I've gotta say I don't think the market's going to change until advertisers... I mean news organisations start being even handed.

    Not El Reg of course, I'm talking about the BBC.

  70. Anonymous Coward
    Thumb Down

    If Linux fix three things...

    ...my next upgrade won't be with MS.

    1) X Server - proper configuration for multiple-displays (it's missing a few vital settings)

    2) Printer support - probably easier to buy a new printer really

    3) TV - just need to sort out the listings

    Hmm...make that one thing then, number 1. XP does everything I need, Vista is an abortion (all the worst bits of KDE in a lard bucket), Server 2008 is an unstable pile of crap; so yeah. I think my next move will be penguin related. I am not paying £100+ for bloated crap.

    Oh, and those vital settings? Just better control over what X determines to be the "main" display. Not much really, but it's annoying when it insists on making the "wrong" display "main" (i.e. the "above" display).

  71. Paul Crawford Silver badge
    Linux

    Decisions, decisions...

    Thinks: $79.99 for windows, has product activiation, various spy-ware like features, and remains the worlds #1 virus and malware target.

    Ubuntu, free or $54.99 for years support. No product activation, can do as I please with it, and marginal target for malware.

    I'll take the penguin thanks. Does all that most folk need: web, email, photos, music (though the lack of iTunes is a pain), CD/DVD play & write, file share, etc...

  72. Charles King
    Badgers

    Dazed and confused

    You can't compare a WAU price that's based on a user buying a *new* PC with a *new* Windows7 OEM license to the upgrade price that will be paid by users who have *old* PCs with *old* OEM licences of XP or Vista. Your comparisons simply don't make any sense.

    WAU:

    User buys new PC

    User buys new OEM Windows7 licence

    User spends some more money to upgrade to a higher tier of the OS

    User still has their old PC and OS.

    Retail upgrade:

    User sticks with old PC

    User bought an OEM XP or Vista licence a few years ago and it's still attached to the old machine.

    User now spends a bit more than the WAU price to upgrade to Windows7.

    You just can't compare WAU and retail upgrade prices, they affect 2 completely different sectors.

    As for Apple, they're winning at the high-end, and are just becoming stronger in the >$1k segment each year. Cutting price is not going to affect that section of the market. And, obviously, people tempted to switch to Apple are looking at buying a whole new (and expensive) machine, a comparison of Family Packs is irrelevant.

    Where MS fails badly is in the 'limited time offer' department. Their pre-order offers for Windows7 sold out in the EU in about 10 minutes and that sort of trick just makes customers angry. The Family Pack Offer needs to be permanent. Playing marketing games with your pricing just annoys consumers and leads them to look elsewhere.

  73. David Hicks
    FAIL

    Who buys windows?

    Seriously, who buys it? Targetting it at consumers wih any sort of discount matrix seems utterly pointless.

    Windows comws with new PCs, if MS is having trouble selling its OS then it's because the PC market has slowed down markedly in the last couple of years. Last year's machine is no longer useless. That machine from 5 years ago can still browse the web and do the documents fine.

  74. Anonymous Coward
    Grenade

    Win Flavours

    Well they can discount all they want I'm not moving away from XP & 2003.

    If I have to, Ubuntu/OSX are my friends on the desktop (as the sales department want they Apple MacAir ... Sales persons ... showoff) the servers are Solaris, Alpha/Tru64 & a tiny bit of Win 2003 that can survive for years, Debian could replace Solaris if Oracle plays silly games, and Tru64 is dead anyway so there is no room for M$ spank me later scheme.

    Companies should really open their options.

    M$ should think that people don't want a dumbed down version because they are using it at "Home".

    Linux does not do that & Apple does not either.

  75. Steve Wright
    Linux

    Linux & Win7

    As a new linux user, I would say that in the netbook market, Microsoft has its work cut out, Ive found Linux to be easy to install and tweek the way I want it and performance to be excellent. Why would I upgrade, there is no real reason why I should and many why I shouldn't (malware).

  76. Mark 65

    Which tit wrote this article?

    "At $119.99 for Windows 7 Home Premium, down from $129.99 under Windows Vista, Microsoft is going after customers who may have wobbled and gone to Apple on price. The Family Pack pushes Windows 7 Home Premium further, with a retail price of $149.99."

    Errrrr, no, no, and finally, a really ill thought out just no.

    I have a Dell/HP/Toshiba/Acer/Asus/IBM computer what OS will I be upgrading to? Let me think before categorically stating that it ain't OSX because IT IS NOT AN OPTION.

    Likewise, I have a Mac and can run windows if I choose or upgrade to Snow Leopard when it appears do I 1) Choose swiss cheese security method monopolist OS or 2) Choose alternated like to be a monopolist OS that at least has a semblance of usability and user friendliness and also familiarity (situation would be similar for dweeb updating from earlier windows to user-fucked-os-28.5)

    If they really went to Apple on price they got wallet-rooted on hardware and won't be returning any time soon.

  77. Robert Pogson
    Linux

    GNU/Linux is Bigger Than MacOS

    TFA is very informative but puts illegal copies and MacOS ahead of GNU/Linux as competition. GNU/Linux has more than double the share of PCs than MacOS. GNU/Linux does not have to improve to grow market share on the low-priced PCs. Emerging markets and newcomers to the PC market are very price-sensitive and GNU/Linux is the clear winner on prices. Do not forget ARM where M$ is not a player.

    In Russia and a few OEMs, consumers are offered a clear price for GNU/Linux and can choose it. For cost-concious businesses and schools moving to thin clients. GNU/Linux is already a good choice. That is 10% of PCs, about 2% of production. GNU/Linux is attacking on several fronts.

    The big takeaway from TFA is that consumers will not be able to understand the pricing scheme. People like simple choices. This is not simple. GNU/Linux is simple. It is the same price whether you run a mainframe or a netbook, $0.

  78. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    Market share v. Mind share

    Ballmer's comments regarding Apple's "insignificant" marketshare belie the fact that the shift isn't about numbers but us about who is shifting. MS have lost the movers and shakers of the computing world. Their OS is seen as the also-ran, boring, uninventive product of yesteryear that no one who knows anything about computing wants. Windows 7 doesn't change that. Vista was already years too late so finally getting it near right for 7 a few years later again just means that they have caught up to the midlle of the 2000's rather than leaping ahead to the next decade. If you are interested in computing MS is still half a decade behind.

    Linux and OS X are what the people who matter use. Not Windows. 7 isn't going to alter that one iota. Market share might not have been hot much for MS, but they sure as hell have lost mind share for good.

  79. Richard 125
    Linux

    Why upgrade anyway?

    Windows 7? Windows 8? I'm just finishing up installing (my free MSDN copy of ) Vista on my new, shipped-OS-less pc. For the last 6 years I've been running XP Pro. The only reason I've changed OS is because of the new machine and the free OS. Otherwise it would have been XP again. I upgrade OS only when necessary, not just for the fun of it, so I won't be upgrading to 7 or 8 or any other until it is again necessary. See you in 6 years Microsoft!

  80. R Callan
    Linux

    Windows 7 flaw

    Perhaps Microsoft is seeing the writing on the wall. This past week I have handed out more copies of Linux (Mepis 8) than ever before. More and more people are willing to at least look at Linux, a major change. Most of these people are those who have relatively recently purchased a new computer which invariably came with vista pre-installed. There is also a simmering discontent with the additional costs to getting a really usable system, including word processing and spreadsheet programmes. There is additionally discontent with the need for anti-virus and anti-malware programmes with windows with the overheads that they require.

    As an aside, the computer I use at work has recently black screened with the message that "Windows Genuine Advantage" has detected that it has an unregistered copy of XP. As this is a small company and they buy their computers with the OS already installed, are Microsoft accusing the supplier of copyright infringement? If that is so then IBM, the producer of the computer might be interested. (The computer in question is a genuine IBM pre Lenovo which gives an indication of its age). They do not seem to like being accused of copyright infringement ala SCO.

  81. Graham Marsden
    Thumb Down

    The Drug Peddler's Model...

    ... the first fix is cheap, then, once they're hooked, the price goes up...

  82. horsesintransit
    FAIL

    But Snow Leopard is only $29

    That makes it wayyyy cheaper than Windows 7 to upgrade... However, I am an Apple user so the cost of Windows is irrelevant to me as I am not going to upgrade to it, Snow Leopard on the other hand, I will. I imagine the people using Windows machines, would not be affected by OS X prices either.... if they are going to buy a new machine and decide on an iMac or Macbook, the cost of upgrading to Snow Leopard is not going to be a factor on the actual cost of the machine. If they want to buy a new Windows machine, I can't see most people buying a Vista one and than paying to upgrade to Windows 7, they will just stick with Vista or they will wait for Windows 7 to be pre-installed and buy then or use an upgrade voucher provided it is free. So the competition as far as income from upgrades, is really just Microsoft from all of those existing Vista and XP users, most of whom I would guess won't pay for an upgrade. So apart from on new machines, I think Windows 7 sales wise will be another Vista.

  83. Gary F
    Stop

    Can't compare Apples with pears

    When was the last time someone said "ooh, it's cheaper to upgrade Windows than Mac OS, so I'd better stop using my Mac OS and just buy Windows from now on"? And vice versa. If someone likes their brand of OS they stick to it. And if they did want to swap "sides" they'd probably buy a new PC or Mac with the OS preinstalled.

    I don't think there is any merit in comparing Windows/Mac OS prices. People don't pick their OS based on price they do so based on either what they are already familiar with, what their friends & family have told them, or on their own list of requirements - software availability, stability, virus protection, the cool factor, etc.

    Personally I think Microsoft should give all Vista owners a free upgrade to 7 with a written apology from Ballmer. "Sorry we sold you this c*$p, I'm sure you'll find 7 will make up for it."

  84. Piloti
    Linux

    Upgrade ?

    The thing that troubles me about all of this is the word 'upgrade'. Certainly in the UK, think of the usual consumer user : buy a laptop, wait two years for windows to be well and truly f&^%$%^%$%!!!d , hand it down, buy another.

    People ted to stick with what they have, having spent £500 plus in the first case, why another £50-150 just to make it work ? I dont see it happening.

    AS for Linux; well, Linux is far superior to Windows, and probably to W7 as well. Currently, the restrictions in W7 suggests that W7 will be a bag of spanners, where as Linux is restriction free. The only problem Linux [Mandriva, Ubuntu, Suse et al] have is that the hardware people don't like to put Linux on too often so that MS don't stop them putting n the cash cow top price machines. The thinking being Linux is ok for the cheap stuff, MS for the pricey stuff. Flawed logic in my opinion, but, none the less, probably not far away from the truth.

    For me, I still won't be buying a W7 machine, I will stick with what I have, Mandriva, and all will be fine.

    p.

  85. ken 13

    I am still pissed about the family pack

    I bought 2 single version Vista + upgrades and now I find out I could have gotten 3 without vista for cheaper :(

  86. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    Interesting analysis, but what of the big boys?

    An interesting article.

    There are a couple of very important numbers which I didn't at first glance see included - the amount Dell, HP, etc pay for their various flavours of Windows 7 licence, and the amount corporate IT departments pay for their Windows 7 licences. I'd guess (?) that these two avenues to market cover more Windows units than the retail sector, but the retail sector is probably more profitable (apart from the half price "seed the market" special offers etc).

    As far as I can tell, pretty much everything in a PC is either cheaper or offers lots more value today than it did ten years ago, with perhaps one exception. Can you guess which component it is?

    Windows does a few more little things today than it did ten years ago (you can actually write CDs, for example, in a limited kind of way), but it also costs pretty much the same as it did ten years ago. In fact the high end versions probably cost more. How does Windows 2000 OEM compare vs a non-cut-down Windows 7 OEM ? How much are the likes of Dell paying for a "Certificate of Authenticity" vs what they were paying ten years ago? What's that all about?

  87. Anonymous Coward
    FAIL

    Micrsofts Inevitable Decline

    With this apparent lack of leadership and vision this seems to be the start of Microsoft's decline.

  88. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    irrelevant

    Given that it most people have to upgrade their PC to support an upgrade in Windows, surely most of this is irrelevant.

    I cannot think of one person who is not employed in an IT role who would even consider upgrading windows separately to the actual hardware. That is what we have learned from MS.

    Also the concept of netbook users growing out of their super light copy of windows for a 'premium' version is mostly also irrelevant as its a netbook.

    Both the author of this article has missed this and so have MS.

    Even companies often do not separately upgrade OS and Hardwaer

  89. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    Interesting article

    [apologies if this is near duplicate, thought I posted at w/end but it's not here]

    An interesting set of observations and analysis.

    But it's all based largely on the retail market and retail prices. That's a fine starting point, especially as prices are readily available and easily verified. However...

    Is the retail market really what MS cares about at the moment though? I would imagine retail sales of Vista (other than pre-installed) were minimal, so they'll be looking to improve on that, hence (as noted) the half price introductory offer to kick things off for Windows 7.

    But how big are the OEM sales volumes (Dell, HP, etc) and the corporate IT desktop volumes in comparison with retail OS sales? And what's happening to the prices there?

    I can't help wondering if that's where the real battle will be - various vendors managed to carry on selling XP PCs long after MS wanted them to be on the Vista bandwagon (hello Dell), what deals are MS offering for them to motivate them to really get behind Windows 7?

    Various corporate IT departments and outsourcers have also shown no interest at all in moving off XP. Again, it would have been interesting to know what kind of deals are MS offering for them (us?) to motivate them (me?) to really get behind Windows 7.

  90. N2 Silver badge

    More smoke & mirrors

    Compare the confused mess that Microsoft is to OSx (Im not asking you to embrace or use it, just compare)

    One version of OSx, V Christ knows how many version of Windows,

    OSx will run on all intel hardware V a question mark if your hardware is older, for example: about half of Intels processors wont be able to permit 7 to run in XP virtual mode.

    Just thats enough to convince me my decision to abandon Microsoft was the right one - for me.

    Even if Windows 7 was free & I believe I qualify for a gratis copy, Im not going to use it, Ill stick with XP, thank you.

  91. James Pickett
    Gates Horns

    Recommended

    I'm not sure that pricing, per se, is really an issue. You know that MS is going to make an obscene profit whatever its 'strategy' - software costs virtually nothing to produce, once the R&D is paid for, and that is how they got rich in the first place. I'd like to see two things:

    1) Transparency - we should be allowed to know what it really costs to make and what installers like Dell and HP pay. They're the ones 'recommending' it, after all.

    2) Responsibility of those 'recommending' it, when it turns out to be a turkey, like Vista. If MS is in court over the 'Vista compatible' stickers, howcome the people who put the stickers on aren't complicit?

  92. Peter 39

    misses the real numbers

    Story misses the point about Apple's pricing.

    Mac OS X $129.99 price is full retail for new copy.

    Windows 7 Home Premium full retail is $199.99 (at Amazon)

    MS upgrade (Vista Home Premium -> Win 7 Home Premium) is $119.99.

    MaC OS X Leopard -> Snow Leopard is $29.99

    So, tell me again how "Microsoft is going after customers who may have wobbled and gone to Apple on price"

    I don't follow the math

  93. jason 7
    Stop

    What else do people spend their money on over a 5 years?

    It does make me laugh to hear folks bitch and moan about the cost of the latest MS OS.

    On average I've used each OS around 5 years+. For the price thats not that much each year for so much usage and benefit.

    But folks think thats way too much.

    However, in that time chances are they wil have -

    Changed their phone three times.

    Laptop/PC twice or more.

    TV twice.

    Car once.

    Games console etc. etc.

    And not batted an eyelid.

  94. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    Re: Official pricing is hardly the point

    >probably see Linux market share rocket.

    What complete and utter twaddle. Linux market share will only increase substantially if the rank and file can play games on it without needing an emulator or virtual machine. Joe Bloggs buys a box and he wants it to work and be able to play games without having to go to some forum or other to see why the sound doesn't work for application Q but is fine when running X, Y and Z. Then when he gets the sound working why all his apps have a red tint to them. No matter how much you cream over Linux, your average user just wants a box that works with little to no maintenance.

    As for upgrade pricing, I can't see this as being anything other than headline attention seeking. Back to Joe Bloggs, he's bought his box and he's not going to upgrade, why would he? The main upgrade market is business users and they've been put off by the Vista fiasco.

  95. Anonymous Coward
    Unhappy

    Apple price? Who cares?

    So what is Snow Leopard is only $29, can I upgrade my Windows XP to that? *NO!* It would be against the licensing terms.

    Could I move to Linux?...perhaps. But then I need to buy a new printer (costing more than a Windows 7 Upgrade), couldn't run a decent multi-screen system (X has some very annoying limitations, e.g. on a vertical stacked 2 screen system, try making the lower screen "main". You can't. How shit is that?), I lose TV (no EPGs etc), I lose corporate VPN and so on. (See note below)

    So as much I may not like it, I will either have to remain on XP or upgrade to Windows 7.

    There simply is no viable alternative (yet).

    Note to the Linux fanbois: I know about MythTV, I know about OpenSwan etc. These simply do not work for me.

  96. pr783
    Alert

    Trench warfare

    "Chief executive Steve Ballmer this week described a WWI trench war scenario with Apple."

    That seems a rather distasteful comparison.

  97. Simon C
    FAIL

    RE: Jason 7 @ 9.59

    What you are stating people change in 5 years (mobile, laptop, car etc) cannot be compared with what MS are releasing.

    Lets see why.

    Mobile - New mobile offers features that previous mobile did not have - par example, my old mobile was no effective on the web, so I changed it for one that was.

    Laptop - Offers features not on previous laptop - I store a lot of image and play some AAA games. My previous laptop wouldnt run them, but my new laptop has lots of storage and can run all the apps/games I want.

    Car - Well my old car was a rust bucket and needed some more work, so cheaper for me to buy a new one.

    My point is that MS software be it Win 7/8 whatever, at present does NOTHING different than Win XP.

    Fancy windows...ooh nice...right the value has been earned and lost.

    Quicker bootime - inconsequential and also hardware dependant.

    Will run on existing hardware - but not quite as good as the current occupant (win xp)

    Quick clicks for stupid people - Win XP was dumbed down NT/2000, imo doesnt need dumbing down anymore.

    So there you have it, the key reasons to upgrade dont give me any value whatsoever and does nothing over and above what my current incarnation does.

    I too, fail to know these people who buy the upgrades. With many tech colleagues and quite a range of family, I know that MS wont be earning upgrade $$ from my corner of the world.

    Why dont they go down a license fee format. Pay an annual cost ($20 a year say) and you get all versions, patches, upgrades etc.

    You want more packages, nps, just pay an extra $5 a year for office.

    At least you'll obtain a source of income rather than HOPING people will by teh product. - because at present, the only product people are buying IS the computer.

  98. James Dunmore
    Thumb Up

    @Paul Crawford

    Spot on.

    This review also misses the fact that Windows maybe $50 cheaper, but users have to spent $50 a year in virus protection - linux and mac's - they don't.

  99. Giles Jones Gold badge

    Apple is the target for one reason only..

    Microsoft has to grown their business and Apple's sales are contracting Microsoft's home market.

    If a business is contracting then shares drop and the company panics.

  100. jason 7
    FAIL

    @SimonC and James Dunmore

    @SimioC. My point wasnt about features. It was about people moning about maybe having to spend anything from £60 to £200 on an OS every 5 years knowing that the usage they get from it will be quite high. Yet they dont think twice about spending possible thousands on something they may only use a fraction in comparison on a far more regualr basis.

    @James Dunmore - $50 a year on AV? You must have been in a coma for the past 10 years. Perfectly competant free AV software has been around a long time. But then you are trolling of course and trolls are ancient. No one has to pay for virus protection.

  101. The Fuzzy Wotnot
    FAIL

    Best of luck!

    The average user who buys a PC from PC World or TESCOs is not interested in upgrade this or mess about with SKU that. The PC works with whatever that is running on it. I can get my mail I can browse Google/Facebook/"Twatter/MySpace, I don't need to upgrade, I never upgrade the stuff tha makes my TV work or my microwave, why should I bother with this?

    All this stuff only makes sense to tech-savvy people, not "users" of PCs, they happily plod along until it blows up,then off down to PC World, get it fixed and if forced will upgrade or buy a new machine.

    XP was there when "Joe Sixpack" bought a PC for the family, hence it's massive saturation, it was the O/S of choice, but I can't see anyone other than tech-savvy people bothering with W7, even though as a confirm Mac addict , I think W7 is pretty damn good!

  102. Gareth.
    Grenade

    Re: Apple price? Who cares?

    Same can be said for Microsoft's upgrade deals - can I use it to downgrade... er, sorry I mean upgrade from Ubuntu 9.04 to Windows 7 (although I fail to understand quite why anyone would want to do that unless they're a gamer... in which case they should buy a PS3!)...?

    I know that technically it can be hacked to work like that - install an upgrade version without actually activating it and then re-install Windows 7 on top of the unactivated Windows 7 - but that's against Microsoft's EULA. Microsoft's EULA is so damn restrictive. I much prefer the freedom offered by the GPL :o)

  103. davebarnes

    Mac OS X pricing is even better

    Snow Leopard is only $29 USD. This is not an upgrade price, but a complete copy of the OS.

    Family Pack is $49. Only 5 legal installations, but there is not activation system.

    In fact, you could buy the single version for $29 and install Mac OS 10.6 on every Mac in your house.

    I will buying the Family Pack because $49 is so cheap for my 4 Macs anyway.

  104. Indianatone
    FAIL

    As usual Microsoft charges mega bucks

    Franky I have 3 XP pro licensees and XP does everything I need it to do. I am using the Windows 7 release candidate but can see no reason in the present economy to buy it.

    I am sure I am not alone with this thought.

  105. Eric Dennis
    Gates Horns

    Ubuntu

    I've been dual booting Ubuntu on my laptop for 3 weeks and haven't found anything I cannot do in Ubuntu that I normally do in Windows. Unless I buy a new PC with Windows 7 on it, I have no intention of upgrading any of my computers to Windows 7 any time soon. Ubuntu works just fine for me.

  106. Al Jones

    Wow - when "stories" really mean fairy stories

    This has got to be one of the most bizarre reports I've ever read on ElReg since Otto what's-his-face disappeared.

    The "story" here is based solely on the delusions of someone who is obviously an Arts graduates - they're the only ones who can add 2 + 2 and get 7. People who own Mac hardware won't choose between Snow Leopard and Windows 7 - they'll get Snow Leopard, and some of them will decide to upgrade their copy of XP that runs in Parallels or Boot Camp to Windows 7, and some won't.

    People who don't have Apple hardware will be completely unaffected by Snow Leopard pricing, because to go from Windows XP on a Dell to Snow Leopard costs a lot more than $29, $129, $299 or any other pricepoint for Windows7.

    I'm pretty happy with my PC running Vista. If I can score a copy of the Family Pack, I'll upgrade that machine and my wifes machine to Windows 7. If I can't get a copy of the Family pack, we'll both stick with Vista until it's time to replace the current machines, 2 or 3 years down the road. In other words, we'll get Windows 7 the same way 90% of users will get it, bundled with a new machine.

    I do think that Microsoft has pitched the upgrade price too high for most Vista users. At $50, I think an awful lot of Vista users would have gone for it. At $130, I think most of them will skip it. Especially if they then have to pay someone $100 to install it for them, and they could buy a whole new machine for $400.

  107. Stuart Duel
    Jobs Halo

    Price comparison flawed

    The article needs to compare the price of Mac OS X Snow Leopard 10.6 to Windows 7 Professional Ultimate, not the top home version, as OS X comes with absolutely everything, whilst every version of W7 except Pro Ult is hobbled.

    Do that and the price differences becomes even more and more ugly for Microsoft.

    As others have pointed out, Apple hold 1/9th the market share of Windows, although Apple are rapidly gaining traction in the market, yet Microsoft can't seem to stop thinking, bitching and talking about Apple.

    Despite all the huff and puff, Balmer is shit scared of an Apple firing on all cylinders and executing perfectly. Meanwhile, Microsoft is floundering about, searching for a direction, and the latest shiny thing it can attach its flag to. Just don't looking behind you at the massive pile of other shiny things Microsoft has played with, spent billions on and then discarded like a child with ADD.

    @ Matt 53: So you thank Apple for doing the R&D and innovation work for MS. Then why stick with the second rate, derivative imitator, when you can have the real thing from Apple?

    Final word: Apple hardware isn't massively overpriced or stuffed with the same crap parts as other cheap-arse crap computers. Apple uses quality parts and workmanship, which explains the astonishingly low return rates and the industry's highest user satisfaction rates. Apple also use innovative manufacturing processes, such as the unibody macbook design, cableless, screwless MacPro internals and industry leading materials. Yeah, so a Macbook Pro has a higher price than an equivalent Dell - but you get what you pay for.

  108. RightPaddock
    Megaphone

    Too complicated for me

    Apple as many others have already said ought to be irrelevant, I very much doubt that price is a factor for the vast majority of OS/X users. MSFT should be targeting existing Windows users.

    Why not just have 1 product - with a fixed price of US$80 irrespective of what your currently using. If you have Vista you can upgrade it, otherwise you'll have to install it. Microsoft must have to bear a cost for all these different editions and pricing options, which inevitably get passed onto consumers.

    Consumers with multiple machines could buy discounted (say 30%) for packs of 2, 3, 5, 7 or 9 licenses; beyond that there would be alternatives targeted at small, medium & large businesses.

    At those prices many individuals & families would upgrade. That means that within a couple of years most of the XP (& IE6) and Vista legacy would be eliminated from the consumer market, at least in the developed world.

    I don't anticipate getting a new system built for at least 5 years, by then I suspect W7 will be superseded by W8. Until then it looks like I'll stick with XP/64 running on my existing quad processor with 16Meg of memory.

  109. jason 7
    Stop

    Apple parts...same as Dell parts

    Apple..made from Foxconn quality parts...just like it says on the parts inside these cheap Dells I'm working on.

    Mmmmmm.

    Its only the cases that are different folks. The rest is the same cheap mass manufactured stuff you find anywhere else.

  110. A. Lloyd Flanagan
    Grenade

    Prices still way too high

    If MS is serious about getting people (like me) to upgrade from Windows XP, they need to get the price below the "no-brainer" point, which for me is probably $20-30. There's just no good reason to spend $90 or more. (See http://www.codinghorror.com for a discussion of this).

    As far as Linux: hmmm, I can spend $90 with Microsoft and get technical help from their website, or I can spend $50 with Canonical and get an actual human being to help me through the rough spots. Looks to me like MS has a problem.

  111. Anonymous Coward
    Thumb Down

    Deary me

    "Apple..made from Foxconn quality parts...just like it says on the parts inside these cheap Dells I'm working on.

    Mmmmmm.

    Its only the cases that are different folks. The rest is the same cheap mass manufactured stuff you find anywhere else."

    What crap. Have you even looked at an Apple mobo? Have you checked the chip density and the fact a Mac Pro mobo beats the likes of Asus etc. under Windows?

    I'm not saying there aren't plenty of Samsung/Foxconn chips in there, but do you expect Apple to build its own memory chip plant? 'Cheap mass manufactured' is good because it works.

    What next? Saying a Ferrari is crap because there are Magneti Marelli components in there, as there are in a Volkswagen?

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