If Microsoft made Vista available for legal retail download, would the masses come? Looks like we'll soon find out.
The Redmond software vendor officially acknowledged on January 17 its plans to offer a Vista Family Pack. If you buy Vista Ultimate at retail, you will have the option of obtaining up to two copies of Vista Home Premium for $49.99 a piece.
Microsoft also announced this evening official pricing for Vista upgrades if you purchase them via the Windows Anytime Upgrade program. Via Anytime Upgrade, a user may purchase a "key" that will allow him/her to unlock a more powerful version of Vista on the operating system DVD.
But the Vista announcement Microsoft made tonight that intrigued me the most was its plan to make many of the Vista -- and Office 2007 -- SKUs available to consumers for download from the Microsoft Windows Marketplace Web site. The versions available for download are Vista Home Basic, Home Premium, Business and Ultimate.
My question: Who will want to purchase Vista via download? Forget the whole issue of the dependability and speed of your broadband connection. Why wouldn't you just go buy a DVD copy, if you're not planning to do what most purchasers will and simply wait until you need a new Windows PC and purchase Vista preloaded?
Yes, I realize some corporate customers prefer to obtain Vista via download, as do testers and developers with access to MSDN and Microsoft Connect. But I'm asking whether plain-old consumers and small-business users might be interested in doing the same.
As one of my colleagues quipped: "The person who would consider downloading Vista probably won't download it from Marketplace." (And probably won't think even for a moment about downloading it legally.)
Do you agree?