Windows 7: The incentives are coming

Windows 7: The incentives are coming

Summary: Microsoft and its partners are entering that challenging period that occurs every time a new Windows release is poised to debut: The lull just before the arrival of the next big thing. But it looks like the Redmondians are readying some new consumer and business incentives to keep the pipeline primed.


Microsoft and its partners are entering that challenging period that occurs every time a new Windows release is poised to debut: The lull just before the arrival of the next big thing. But it looks like the Redmondians are readying some new consumer and business incentives to keep the pipeline primed.

Microsoft is expected to release Windows 7 to manufacturing around August July of this year. Then there will be a period of "a few months" (as acknowledged recently by Windows Client Chief Financial Officer Tami Reller) before customers will be able to buy it.

Update: This just in (literally) from a company spokesperson: "Microsoft today announced that Windows 7 GA will be on 10/22. There will also be a Tech Guarantee type program known as Windows Upgrade Option. More details are to come in Steve Guggenheimer’s keynote at Computex in Taipei tomorrow (10:30p PT)." Update No. 2: There's a  Microsoft Windows Blog post announcing the October retail-availability date -- and the expected fact that Windows Server 2008 R2 is on the same general-availability path, as well.

There's a sizeable pool of potential customers for Windows 7. In 2008, about 60 percent of the consumer market was still using XP or older versions of Windows in 2008 and 75 percent of the business market was doing the same, according to a May 29 Deutsche Bank research note, which cited Gartner Group data.

If you're in the market for a new PC in the next few months, what should you do? Hold off (if you can) until Windows 7 PCs are available -- October 22?

Consumers aren't going to have to wait until fall. There was a report earlier this year on the TechARP enthusiast site claiming that Microsoft and its PC partners were planning to launch an upgrade program via which customers buying new Vista PCs, as of July 1, would get coupons for a free copy of Windows 7. Microsoft still has yet to confirm that report. But CFO Reller, who spoke at a recent Cowan and Company conference, made it seem like Microsoft is ready to unveil that program any time now.

In response to an analyst's question as to whether and when Microsoft might go public about the Technical Guarantee upgrade program, Reller said:

"We have not announced the tech guarantee program is the one that you're thinking of, which is what we did with Vista.  So, we have not announced anything specific to that, but yes, what I can say is that we were happy with that program with Vista.  And with Vista it came before RTM (release to manufacturing)."

Meanwhile, on the business side of the house, there was a recent report on the UX Evangelist enthusiast blog that Microsoft has been offering volume licensees a chance to lock in Windows 7 Enterprise for $77 per copy as one of their Software Assurance benefits.

(A recent screen shot from the Microsoft Volume Licensing site, captured by a Neowin.Net reader, also made it seem like some kind of a Software Assurance pricing incentive for Windows 7 Enterprise is set to launch soon.)

I asked Microsoft whether such an incentive program is in the wings and was told that nothing has been announced. But company officials had no comment as to whether such a program was soon to be unveiled. The spokesperson ended up providing this statement: "For a limited time, Microsoft is offering a promotional price on Microsoft Software Assurance to customers that purchase a new PC with Windows Vista Business. Customers with Software Assurance will have access to Windows 7 Enterprise when it is released. We recommend customers contact their Microsoft Volume License reseller for a quote specific to their business."

Are you part of the pool of users of older Windows releases who are still holding onto XP (or Windows 2000 or even Windows 95)? What would it take -- incentive-wise -- to convince you to move to Windows 7?

Topics: Windows, Enterprise Software, Microsoft, Operating Systems, Software


Mary Jo has covered the tech industry for 30 years for a variety of publications and Web sites, and is a frequent guest on radio, TV and podcasts, speaking about all things Microsoft-related. She is the author of Microsoft 2.0: How Microsoft plans to stay relevant in the post-Gates era (John Wiley & Sons, 2008).

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  • Incentives

    I don't think Microsoft has to offer any great
    incentives. If they want people to move to Windows
    7, they just need to sell it for a reasonable
    price. No more then ?100 for Home Premium, and it
    will be worth the upgrade. Im all for windows 7,
    but im not goning to upgrade if it means selling
    the house (Hopefully it wont come to that!).
    • I believe "incentives" was at least partly referring

      to rumored "free upgrade rights" for any Vista licenses purchased in the period leading up to Windows 7 launch.

      The early personal computing history has a scary example with the Osborne computer. When Osborne announced a successor to the current model, demand stopped in anticipation of the new and much improved model. The lack of demand cash-stripped the company the new new model never came into reality. This is now known as "the Osborne effect".

      Who will buy a computer in August or September with Windows Vista if they know that in October they can get the same computer for the same or less and with a much more modern operating system?
      • Brand name addicted mouse wielding monkeys will buy it.

        They'll buy doggy doo is MS says it's the next hot computery thing, and MS knows that.
        • It's Facinating To Watch Illiterate Fanboys Post

          Or, maybe Windows 7 will simply appeal to the 86% of us who prefer Windows, because it directly supports an overwhelming selection of software solutions. But what do we know? Obviously those who run a misc. flavor of a little used (<2%) OS and do so without the benefit of using a mouse, have superior wisdom and the unquestionable authority to tell us all how wrong we are... ROFL
          John Westra
          • Well done...

            This won't shut idiots like this up, but I am with you on your comment. I love Vista and plan to go get Win7 on Oct 22.
    • They also need a good slogan...

      Aside from the reasonable price they really need a good slogan... Here are a few I have been tossing around...

      "Windows 7, It doesn't suck as bad as Vista"

      "If you tried Vista, you will love Windows 7"

      "Windows 7, we got it mostly right, this time"

      "Windows 7, we wouldn't burn you again... would we?"

      "Windows 7, No it's not the 7th version of windows, but who cares."

      • I like "Wow Redeux"

        "Wow, this is like Vista, but faster."
        "Wow, I might not buy a Mac now."

        "Wow, this hasn't annoyed me yet."

        "Wow, how are the trolls going to flamebait this?"
    • Complete version for a reasonable price...

      If 7 Ultimate is retail priced $179 or less and Home Premium is $149 or less, they'll convert just about everybody within a couple of years. That's pie-in-the-sky dreaming, though. They've already shown (by marketing 5 crippled versions again) that they don't learn from their mistakes. As a result, I predict 7 Ultimate retail being priced at $400 minimum. They are such idiots. I like it a lot and I certainly won't be buying it for any of my 6 systems. I'll just keep using the mixture of Vista Ult and XP Pro I have on those systems now. Microsoft needs to learn that people won't upgrade if the price is just plain stupid, no matter how many hundreds of millions they spend on commercials.
      • Family Pack Pricing is Nice

        Mac OS X comes in a single Upgrade for $129 or upgrade 5 Macs for $179.

        If I had 5 Macs, I wouldn't mind the fact that they come out with an OS ever two years as long as I can upgrade 5 systems for less than $40 a system.

        Trying to upgrade 5 systems with Windows and it's like pulling teeth. Why should I spend so much on the OS if I can buy an entirely new system for the same price?
        • There isn't much much reason it to compare "full"

          But purchasing Vista Ultimate upgrade licenses can be cheaper than the purchase of iLife + Mac OS X upgrades.
        • package

          very true and economically unfortunate
      • I AGREE

        I agree with you 100%. I like Win 7 but I have Vista and I think Win 7 is Vista the way it should have shipped but didn't! I'm not going to pay full price (or even their "upgrade" price) to basically get what should have been fixed in the latest SP. I think they should have a very reasonable upgrade price for people who have already upgraded to Vista.
    • Amen!

      MS needs to save some of the billions they plan on spending for an advertising blitz, promoting Win 7, and use it to reduce the price of the OS.
    • Agreed...

      I have four computers at home (3 IBM laptops and 1 Dell desktop) happily running WinXP Pro and Linux Mint v7(based on Ubuntu 9.04), and I am in NO hurry to pay over $170+ per machine to get Win7 on each of them. Maybe if they offered a REALLY attractive incentive for XP Pro users (like $50-$75per license) I would make the switch from XP.

      So basically, unless the pricing is right, I won't have Windows 7 until my home computers need to be replaced in another two years or so.
      • When did you get Mint v7?

        Off subject, but I built my Mom a "leftover parts" system and only saw Mint based on the 8.(whatever) version of Ubuntu.

        Btw, there will probably be cheaper versions, and I will be upgrading. XP still lacks the stability I need, and I also want Media Center as well.
        • Media Center

          is available for Ubuntu. I do not use it, but judging by other Linux applications and any/all Microsoft offerings, it has them beat forty ways from price.

          LinuxMCE is a free, open source add-on to Kubuntu including a 10' UI, complete whole-house media solution with pvr + distributed media, and the most advanced smarthome solution available. It is stable, easy to use, and requires no knowledge of Linux and only basic computer skills.

          By the way, Mint and Ubuntu both are derivitives of Debian, and therefore the Debian repository is available to both.

          Ole Man
    • Give a discount to XP users

      MS needs to give a discount to XP users.Those that were unable,or not willing to drink the Vista flavored KoolAid.Vista was just,at best,a Beta of Windows7.I personal do not use Windows.I switched to Linux about 3 years ago.I only have one laptop in my house with Windows on it and thats only because the online college my wife attends requires MS Office.No I am not a computer geek.And no I am not going to tell people they are idiots for sticking with MS products.I tried Linux and will never go back to MS.
  • RE: Windows 7: The incentives are coming

    Keep dreaming, they want something like $260 for the home version!
    Whatever, redmond, just like vista failed, the new 7 upgrade will fail too if you think people are going to pay these stupid fees to upgrade.
    • If you pay $260 for an UPGRADE you are an Idiot

      $260 would be for retail FULL COPY's which nearly no one should purchase. Home upgrade should be around $130.
      • Aye?

        Try doing a clean install using an upgrade version - you're totally screwed as a result.

        Unless you're going to transfer it to a new computer you're better off getting an OEM version - which is what I'm going to do with my Netbook.