Free Vista (and Office) for holiday shoppers?

What a great idea. Wish I'd thought of it. Wait... I did.
Written by Marc Orchant, Contributor

Jupiter's Michael Gartneberg has a great suggestion for Microsoft: give holiday season PC purchasers a free copy of Vista. And Office. It's a terrific idea that would spur a lot of fence-sitting potential PC purchasers to spend their holiday bucks on a shiny new PC instead of a hi-def TV or some other gadget.

"I'd humbly suggest they consider that for a brief period of time, perhaps from Black Friday through Christmas that they offer not only a free copy of Vista (and make that Vista Premium please) but also a copy of Office 12. That's the type of value proposition that could easily make consumers get off the fence and not wait until Jan or later to buy. It could even be a special version of Office 12, perhaps just Word, Excel, PowerPoint and Outlook, similar to today's student and teacher edition. It's a fairly short period in time, so it's not something that will really hurt Office sales, spurs customer adoption of both Vista and Office (and gives consumers a good application to show off Vista) and most importantly, creates a strong motivation for consumers NOT to wait but to get the added value over that four week or so period."

Of course I think it's a great idea. I suggested essentially the same thing on March 22nd, shortly after the most recent shipping slip was announced. Of course, I wasn't quite as free with Microsoft's money as Gartenberg. He wants to throw Office into the deal too. Why not? Back in March, I gave three reasons why this would be a good move. They were:

  1. Those who do buy a retail PC this holiday season will more than likely be the last to upgrade to Vista so it's not like they're cannibalizing sales.
  2. This removes all of the trepidation about buying a PC in the critical Q4 retail season despite Vista not being released. Retail buyers won't have to wonder if they should wait and end up spending their PC money on some other shiny bauble.
  3. You can encourage a higher purchase point by restricting the offer to systems bearing the shiny new silver and gold "Built for Vista" labels that are supposed to start appearing on April 1. Systems that meet the label program guidelines have got to have better margins that the $399 end-of-life specials that people might otherwise be buying.

 Anyone else think this is good idea?  Anyone? Bueller? Bueller?

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