Don't get too excited about those Vista price cuts

Microsoft announced price cuts for Windows Vista on February 28, but only for standalone boxed copies sold at retail.

Microsoft announced price cuts for Windows Vista on February 28, but only for standalone boxed copies sold at retail.

The price cuts are not Vista copies preloaded on new PCs or sold through volume-licensing contracts. Microsoft characterizes retail as "a small fraction of Microsoft's overall business," (no exact numbers available from Microsoft), in the words of a compay spokeswoman. And secondly, Microsoft itself is cautioning that some users won't see any cuts at all starting in late March, when Microsoft begins making its Vista Service Pack (SP) 1 update generally available.

Microsoft isn't saying exactly how much they'll be cutting prices. When I asked Microsoft for more specifics, I got this note from a company spokeswoman:

"Pricing varies country to country and version by version; some Windows Vista editions will see no price changes, others will see moderate changes that may be as small as three percent. The vast majority of retail customers - especially those in developed markets - may not notice anything different from the promotions they've already seen in their region. This is really about formalizing promotions Microsoft has run with several partners already."

Those who are most likely to see the "47 to 48 percent" cuts on Vista that Microsoft mentioned in today's announcement are those in emerging markets -- not so coincidentally, where Linux has been making some inroads. As my ZDNet blogging colleague Adrian Kingsley-Hughes notes, Microsoft also is discontinuing selling upgrade versions of Vista in these countries.

Meanwhile, speaking of Microsoft's consumer Windows strategy, Microsoft finally has chosen the advertising agency which will be handling its $300 million consumer-focused ad campaign. It's Crispin, Porter and Bogusky, the firm that handles campaigns for Burger King, Coke Zero and Miller Lite, among other companies.

Suggestions for new Vista ad slogans? The possibilities are endless...

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