OK, so here are the long-awaited particulars on three areas related to Windows 7 pricing and upgrades, where references to “Today” mean 6/26/2009:
Terms of the “buy Vista now, upgrade to Windows 7 later” deal. Starting today, those who purchase a PC equipped with any of these Vista versions: Home Premium, Business, or Ultimate from a participating retailer or computer manufacturer will get a free or low-cost upgrade to the equivalent Windows 7 version some time after October 22, 2009, the general availability (GA) date for Windows 7. This program continues through January 31, 2010. Details will be made available from the seller about how to collect (and how much to pay, if anything), and provided as part of the post-purchase paperwork.
Pre-order Windows 7 at a substantial discount. Starting today, upgrades to Windows 7 Home Premium will be available for pre-order for $49, and to Windows 7 Professional for $99 at a list of retailers that includes: Office Depot, Amazon.com, Best Buy, the Microsoft Store, TigerDirect.com, Newegg.com, and Fry’s. This offer is only good until July 11, so those wishing to cash in on this half-price deal should act fast. You’ll also want to check the upgrade matrix for Windows 7 to figure out which one to buy (hint: Vista Home Premium upgrades to Windows 7 Home Premium, Vista Business upgrades to Windows 7 Professional; XP Home upgrades to Windows 7 Home Premium, XP Professional to Windows 7 Professional; for XP versions a clean install is required–you can’t perform an upgrade install to get from XP to Windows 7, though you can use various migration tools to move preferences and settings).
Pricing for boxed copies of Windows 7 has been set. When these items go up for sale starting on October 22, 2009, upgrades will cost $119 for Home Premium, $199 for Professional, and $219 for Ultimate (this is $10 cheaper for Home Premium, and the same price for Professional vs. Business, and Ultimate on the Microsoft Store site). I’m hoping this means third parties will offer more substantial discounts (for example, you can buy a Vista Home Premium upgrade from Directron right now for $60). Full retail versions will go for: $199 for Home Premium, $299 for Professional, and $319 for Ultimate (this is $40 cheaper for Home Premium than for its Vista counterpart, though Professional/Business and Ultimate pricing remains on par with Vista).
For those thinking about upgrading personal machines to Windows 7, the current pre-order pricing is hard to beat. Though you’ll still have to wait to lay hands on the package until after 10/22/2009 (and how much longer after that is anybody’s guess), with savings of 50-60% in the balance it’s still worth doing, if you ask me. I’d hoped to see Microsoft knock more off its prices this time around, but all in all it could have been worse!
If you’re more of a “visual learner” than a text-oriented type of person, you’ll find a video recap on all of this material in the 6/25/2009 Windows 7 blog entitled “Announcing the Windows 7 Upgrade Option Program & Windows 7 Pricing – Bring on GA!“