Final Vista prices? Don't buy that bogus list

A list of rumored "final retail prices" for Windows Vista is bouncing around the Internet like a SuperBall. Don't believe it.

Update 28-Aug: Vista prices revealed! Microsoft Canada has published a retail price list for Windows Vista, apparently by accident. It offers some important clues to what the final prices will be. (Hint: some Windows customers will pay less than they do today for XP.)

With Windows Vista Beta 2 just around the corner, the silly season has begun. This list of rumored retail prices for Windows Vista is bouncing around the Internet like a SuperBall. Its provenance is dubious, and the original source, an obscure German blog, hasn't exactly earned a reputation as a top-flight source. (Update Monday 22-May, 6:30AM PDT: MSBlog has removed the original post and replaced it with a note that refers to "public flaming"; the original list is still available at Microsoft News Tracker.)

Update 2, Monday 22-May 8:47AM PST. Rather than publish a correction, has deleted their original post and all comments. For the historical record, here's the original list they posted:

Windows Vista Home Basic
200 euros or 255.55$ or 135.95 pounds

Windows Vista Home Premium
400 euros or 511.10$ or 271.90 pounds

Windows Vista Ultimate Edition
500 euros or 638.88$ or 339.87 pounds

Windows Vista Business
650 euros or 830.54$ or 441.84 pounds

Windows Vista Enterprise
800 euros or 1,022.20$ or 543.80 pounds

In fact, this list doesn't even come close to passing the smell test. Here are the two factoids that make it almost certain to be a fraud:

According to this list, the Business Edition is going to cost a whopping 650 euros (about $830). That's way more than the street price of Small Business Server 2003. The idea that a desktop operating system for cash-strapped small businesses will cost more than a server product is ridiculous. In fact, according to this report, the Business Edition is going to cost 30% more than Ultimate Edition. That's insane.

And the list includes one price that simply can't exist. According to this list, the retail package of Vista Enterprise Edition will cost over $1000. The problem? Enterprise Edition won't be sold in a retail package. It's available only for organizations that buy licenses in bulk under the Microsoft Software Assurance program or a Microsoft Enterprise Agreement.

If this is any indication of what lies in store for the rest of the week, I think I'll need a bigger shovel.