Vista fans, circle January 30 on your calendar

Forget that leaked Canadian price list. Two weeks ago, Amazon loaded preliminary prices for Windows Vista on their website, along with a ship date of January 30, 2007. Glad that's out of the way.
Written by Ed Bott, Senior Contributing Editor

Joe Wilcox at Microsoft Monitor stumbled across Amazon's Windows Vista pre-order prices today. They've been up for nearly two weeks and no one has noticed. But he missed this detail:

For months, Microsoft has been saying Windows Vista will be ready in January. More recently, a Microsoft product planner let slip that it would be "late January." And January 30 fits that bill.

Here's the price list, as charged by Amazon (full/upgrade):

  • Windows Vista Home Basic, $199/$99.95
  • Windows Vista Home Premium, $239/$159
  • Windows Vista Business, $299/$199
  • Windows Vista Ultimate, $399/$259
All in all, close to what I guessed at yesterday. The Ultimate prices are $50-60 more than I predicted, and the Business edition is $20 higher than I thought - exactly the same price as XP Professional. And for some reason the Home Premium version will set you back $20 more than I thought.

Joe also notes that Amazon has dozens of separate SKUs for Vista "additional licenses." At prices that are ridiculously high, I might add. Microsoft has always had an additional license program, but it's been practically invisible to consumers. I've defended Microsoft's decision to slice and dice Vista into multiple editions, but this is ridiculous. Go ahead, look at Amazon's list and tell me the average person won't be hopelessly confused. Hell, even people like me who study this stuff every day are confused.

Cheaper, simpler. That's what Microsoft should be doing with Windows. Instead, we get 16 different Vista SKUs at Amazon. Sigh.

Robert McLaws noticed too, and thinks the additional license program is, shall we say, ill conceived. Actually, he called it "pure and total crap," and says, "Microsoft has completely screwed the pooch on an outstanding opportunity to get everyone to upgrade to Vista legally and inexpensively." Uh-huh.

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