Amazon has started email-bombing people in the UK with Windows 7 pre-order offers, a little while after a similar pre-order offer was available in the US. Windows 7 is the first version of Windows that I’ve found myself being upbeat about since 2001, so I cheerfully clicked the link. The result was an offer of Windows 7 Professional “E” (the European version with IE removed, congrats EU on fighting an originally well-intentioned battle that ceased to be practically relevant almost a decade ago) for a ‘discounted’ price of £180. Wait, what? £180 for basically Vista how it should have been? And that’s a pre-order discount?
I have several copies of XP and Vista on my bookshelf. The Vista ones currently grace only test machines (although post-SP1 it was somewhat more tolerable to use, if still blissfully flagrant with resources), but nevertheless I own several copies. In the US, there was talk of a $99 limited pre-order offer for an upgrade of Win7 Pro, which is still expensive alongside Snow Leopard’s $29 upgrade (which offers a similar level of refinement), but would still be doable - that pales in comparison to £180 (or $295).
This is actually for a ‘full’ copy, not an upgrade, because the fact is that there will be no upgrade version for Europe. The official excuse is that the “E” version requires a re-install, but anyone with a handful of brain cells to rub together knows that’s a crock; the nuances of the install procedure have little to do with the price that they can offer for the license itself - after all upgrade software has for years been able to be used as a fresh install too, provided you have an original CD from the previous version (I doubt anyone would buy an upgrade copy of Windows if they were unable to reinstall afresh at some point - a regular ritual for many users). No, the lack of an upgrade version, and the pricing policy in general, is blatantly a “screw you” to Europe because of the whole IE debacle.
The original word was that “European customers will be able to buy a full retail version of Windows 7 E at the same price as the usually cheaper upgrade version, at least for the rest of this year” (link). Ok, shame that that ‘upgrade’ price, that limited time ‘special deal’ price, is actually 3 times the price of the limited time upgrade offer that the US had. So in fact what you’re saying is that while the upgrade pre-order already looks extortionate, the price is going to be even higher in 2010.
I’m going to have to buy a copy or two anyway, but jeez, way to make me feel totally ripped off guys. I’m going to be upgrading OS X to Snow Leopard at pretty much the same time, and the price difference is going to be glaring. Microsoft made their name originally by bringing value to the masses. Where did that principle go?