update Australians will miss out on the option of upgrading to Microsoft's new Windows Vista and Office 2007 software through a new Internet download service.
Last week Redmond announced it would for the first time make Vista and Office 2007 available as a paid-for download through its Windows Marketplace Web site. The move adds options to the decades-old trend of distributing the software on CD, DVD or floppy disk media.
However, a Microsoft spokesperson today told ZDNet Australia that there were no immediate plans to offer Windows Marketplace to Australians. The Web site currently only caters to the United States and Canada.
It remains unclear whether, as with some other online services such as Apple iTunes, Australian residents are able to use US billing details to access Marketplace.
Contrary to prior reports, Microsoft also confirmed that a service dubbed Windows Anytime Upgrade, which allows users to switch between versions of Vista by buying a registration code online, will not be available in Australia.
Individuals and businesses with subscriptions can still download Vista and Office 2007 for testing purposes only from Microsoft's Developer Network (MSDN). However Marketplace's limitations will likely mean most Australians will still need to buy the products on hard media.
Microsoft started selling Vista and Office 2007 to businesses last November, with consumers to get access to the new software from January 30.
Microsoft Australia managing director Tracey Fellows and Harvey Norman chairman Gerry Harvey will personally sell the first copy of Windows Vista at midnight on January 29 in the retailer's Alexandria, Sydney branch.
That exclusive version of Windows Vista Ultimate will come signed by Microsoft chairman Bill Gates and be sold to the winner of a raffle. A number of other Harvey Norman stores across Sydney, Melbourne and Brisbane will also be open for several hours at that time, offering 10 percent hardware discounts and giveaways to customers for an hour after midnight.