Question from today's mailbox:
Do you think that Windows is too expensive, especially given that Apple is now offering OS X upgrades for $30?
Do I think Windows is too expensive? Yes. Actually, for such a short question, we can actually break down the answer into three different categories.
Let's break down the answer.
I've been shown numbers off the record that suggest consumer operating systems, such as Windows 7 Home Premium, adds between $50 and $90 to the price of a new PC, depending on the sale price of the system. Considering that you can pick up a new PC for around $250, Windows accounts for a fair bit of the cost.
It's hard to find a big name PC OEM that sells systems without Windows pre-installed. I can find outlets in the UK that sell PCs without operating systems (for example, Novatech), and there Windows 7 Home Premium adds some £75 excluding tax (or around $120) to the price of a new PC. But remember, this is the base desktop version of Windows and upgrading to higher versions can skyrocket your OS costs.
So yes, Windows on a new PC is expensive, and as PCs get cheaper, the amount that you're spending on the OS will increase as a proportion of the total system price.
A System Builder copy has the same recommended retail price as an upgrade, but if you shop around you can pick it up for around $100.
Note: I know that there are rules surrounding the use of System Builder versions, but as long as they remain on sale in places such as Amazon and Newegg and are available to all, people will continue to buy and use them.
So yes, buying upgrade versions of Windows is expensive.
So yes, buying the full versions of Windows is expensive.
Note: Compare Microsoft's support policy to that of Apple, which only supports the two versions of the operating system at any one time.
Do you think Windows is too expensive? How much do you think Microsoft should charge?