Microsoft is hiking up the price of its software as it prepares to launch Vista, according to one of the leading PC manufacturers, Acer.
According to Jim Wong, senior corporate vice president of Acer, the issue is simply that the basic home edition of Vista, Home Basic, which is available for pre-order on Amazon.co.uk for £154.99, is so basic that users will be forced to move to Premium version of Vista, at £189.99. A Home Edition of Windows XP is currently available for £165.99, but has a recommended retail price of £176.99.
"The new [Vista] experience you hear of, if you get Basic, you won't feel it at all," Wong told PC Pro magazine. "There's no [Aero] graphics, no Media Center, no remote control."
Wong also said that the manufacturer's licence for Vista Home Premium is 10 percent more expensive than for XP Home. "We have to pay more but users are not going to pay more," Wong said. This would lead to a real increase in the cost to PC manufacturers of one to two percent, according to Wong, in a business with a total margin of around five percent or less.
Top of the range is the Vista Ultimate Edition which can be pre-ordered for £325 from Amazon.co.uk and again is significantly more expensive than the XP operating system it replaces. Windows XP Professional with Service Pack 2 has a recommended retail price of £289.99, but is currently available for £234.