Microsoft has set the UK retail pricing for Windows 7, which is due to launch worldwide on 22 October. Prices range from £49.99 for pre-ordered Home Premium to £229.99 for Ultimate.
The company has also said that, due to the European Commission antitrust ruling on Internet Explorer bundling, it will not be offering the cheaper upgrade versions of Windows 7 in the European retail market. All versions of Windows 7 in the European market will have the 'E' assignation.
"We will only be shipping E editions in the European Economic Community," Laurence Painell, Windows OEM & WGA Product Manager, told ZDNet UK. "We will no longer offer Windows Vista or XP dynamic upgrade and will not be offering upgrade product in [that] market, only fully packaged products."
He confirmed that European users of previous versions of Windows will have to reinstall all applications and data manually, although Microsoft will be offering guidance on procedures.
The standard retail pricing for Windows 7 will be £149.99 for Home Premium, £219.99 for Professional and £229.99 for Ultimate. The notional prices for the unobtainable upgrades for existing Windows owners are £79.99, £189.99 and £199.99 respectively.
However, UK shoppers will initially be able to buy the standalone product at upgrade prices for a limited period. "[The full retail price] is more than people would expect to pay," said Painell. "We will be offering fully packaged product at upgrade prices from the launch to the beginning of next year."
The operating system can also be pre-ordered at promotional prices of £49.99 for Home Premium and £99.99 for Professional. There is no pre-order promotion for Ultimate.
People buying Windows PCs from 26 June will have the option to upgrade to Windows 7 "at little or no cost", Painell said. "This is our Tech Guarantee process, and it operates through the retailers and manufacturers. It's up to them whether they charge for it, so it's important the consumer checks."
The reason for excluding retail upgrades from the UK, Painell said, was that the EU judgement made it impossible for the company to include Internet Explorer on the desktop. "It's technically possible to have an upgrade without Internet Explorer," he said, "but testing that that would have delayed the launch. We may have a postage process, FTP access or some other technology offering to give IE to those who choose it. We're deciding between the different channels, and will be working through this and other things for the market by launch."
New PCs bought with Windows 7 could have Internet Explorer, he said. "We don't expect manufacturers to ship without a browser. We expect 100 percent of PCs in market to have browsers. It's up to the manufacturer or retailer to have a separate agreement for that."