Not all of the new PCs preloaded with Windows Vista are going to come from major PC makers like Dell and Hewlett-Packard. Microsoft is trying to make sure local system builders have something new to offer customers, too.
The latest iteration of the Microsoft-backed "Buy Local" campaign will kick off on January 30, the day that Vista becomes available to consumers. In order to entice users to consider PCs assembled by smaller channel players, Microsoft is providing system builders with some freebies to offer to Vista Home Premium, Vista Business and Vista Ultimate customers.
"We're enabling system builders and direct accounts to help differentiate their PCs from others out there," said John Ball, general manager of Microsoft's U.S. System Builder Partners group.
Participating local PC retailers will be offering the following Vista promotional deals:
* Users buying a copy of Vista Home Premium preloaded on a system from an approved Microsft system builder will get a free 2 GB ReadyBoost-enabled flash drive and an HDTV tuner
* Those buying a copy of Vista Business through the channel will get a free 2 GB flash drive, HDTV tuner a wireless travel router
* Vista Ultimate customers purchasing through an approved Microsoft system builder will get the 2 GB flash drive, HDTV adapter, wireless travel router and a photo printer.
(The specs and brand names of the freebies were not available at the time this blog entry was published.)
As of January 30, Microsoft also is allowing approved local PC retailers to sell Office 2007, as well, specifically the Office 2007 Professional and Office 2007 small-business versions of the product.
Customers who buy PCs preloaded with Vista and Office 2007 through these retailers will be eligible for a free wireless print server, according to Microsoft officials.