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'Retail' OEM versions ease Vista-upgrade pricing pain

by Bob Crabtree on 23 January 2007, 18:34

Tags: Microsoft (NASDAQ:MSFT)

Quick Link: HEXUS.net/qahrq

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Windows Vista logo

We now know for sure the sort of prices at which Windows Vista is going to sell in the UK - SCAN Computers having got Microsoft's permission to start taking orders and immediately ship 32-bit and 64-bit OEM versions and sell retail versions, full and upgrade, for shipping on the official launch day, January 30.

Retail versions look just as expensive as we feared - see this HEXUS.lifestyle.opinion, Windows Vista retail doomed unless Microsoft cuts prices.

However, the OEM versions are far more reasonable, as you'll see from the lists of prices below, but do have to be bought at the same time as a qualifying piece of hardware - though this can be a "non-peripheral computer hardware component".

SCAN's VAT-inclusive prices for OEM versions:

Home Basic - 32-bit, £55.92; 64-bit, £56.98
Home Premium - 32-bit, £70.93; 64-bit, £72.09
Business - 32-bit, £89.69; 64-bit, £91.04
Ultimate - 32-bit, £121.21; 64-bit, £122.47


SCAN's VAT-inclusive prices for Vista retail (with 32-bit and 64-bit versions supplied in pack):

Home Basic - £166.98; upgrade £84.53
Home Premium - £198.00; upgrade £133.41
Business - £246.05; upgrade £162.52
Ultimate - £330.53; upgrade £217.32


SCAN's site includes the following extract from Microsoft's OEM agreement,

PLEASE NOTE : The OEM agreement for Microsoft OEM SOFTWARE DISTRIBUTION.

If the individual software license is a desktop operating system (including Windows XP Media Center Edition), we grant you a nonexclusive right to distribute individual software licenses; provided that each one is distributed with either (a) a fully assembled computer system or (b) a nonperipheral computer hardware component.

A “fully assembled computer system” means a computer system consisting of at least a central processing unit, a motherboard, a hard drive, a power supply, and a case.

A “nonperipheral computer hardware component” means a component that will be an integral part of the fully assembled computer system on which the individual software license will be installed.


Significantly, if the informed speculation in this HEXUS.community thread is correct, the "retail" OEM versions (if we can call them that) will not be restricted for use with just a single PC, as are the hard-coded OEM versions typically supplied with ready-built systems.

Instead - and like retail versions - it appears likely that they can still be used if PCs are massively upgraded and also migrated to completely different PCs.

This follows a change of heart by Microsoft - see, this HEXUS.hardline, PC enthusiasts' clamour gets major change in Windows Vista EULA and the preceeding HEXUS.opinion, Microsoft Vista EULA spits in the eye of self-builders worldwide.

While the OEM prices do make a move to Vista far more affordable, there's still no sign yet that Microsoft will be offering UK consumers anything comparable to the 'Windows Vista Family Discount' scheme. This will allow US and Canadian purchasers of Vista retail to buy two further copies of the same version until June 30 at an ultra-low price - $49.99 each.

Similarly, Microsoft hasn't yet said whether we'll be able to partake of two other schemes offered to our cousins on the other side of the pond.

One is a series of online upgrades (from Microsoft-selected resellers) for Vista users wishing to move up to better versions, as detailed below.

Microsoft suggested prices - Vista-to-Vista version upgrades:

Home Basic to Home Premium $79
Home Basic to Ultimate $199
Home Premium to Ultimate $159
Business to Ultimate $139


The other is an online buy-and-download scheme for complete versions of Vista offered on the Windows Marketplace - again from Microsoft-selected resellers - and where residents of the USA and Canada will also be able to buy and download the Standard, Pro and Home-and-Student versions of Microsoft Office 2007.

So, some good news and some not so good.

We've already got some lively discussions going in the HEXUS.community about Vista pricing, so feel free to share your thoughts in this thread.

HEXUS.links

HEXUS.community :: discussion thread about Vista pricing

Scan support forum on HEXUS.community :: Vista - Now Shipping OEM

HEXUS.lifestyle.opinions :: Windows Vista retail doomed unless Microsoft cuts prices

HEXUS.lifestyle.headlines :: Windows Vista to be delayed again, according to MS (yeah, it looks like we were wrong!)
HEXUS.lifestyle.headlines :: Further delay for Vista consumer launch looks ever more likely (and here, too)
HEXUS.lifestyle.headlines :: Amazon lists prices & Jan 30 availability for Windows Vista

HEXUS.opinions :: Microsoft Vista EULA spits in the eye of self-builders worldwide
HEXUS.hardlines :: PC enthusiasts' clamour gets major change in Windows Vista EULA
HEXUS.hardlines :: Outrage at UK/US Vista price difference
HEXUS.hardlines :: Microsoft proud to hand over Vista 'features' early (but you'll laugh at this one!)


External.links

SCAN Computers - Vista (and Office) buying page

Microsoft USA - Vista home page
Microsoft USA - Windows Vista Family Discount (not live as of Jan 23, 07)



HEXUS Forums :: 132 Comments

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Retailers are just adding salt to injury to rack up price even more.

The retailers will be even happier if M$ do indeed reduce the price as market wish, because there will be at least some person who pre-ordered not knowing the price drop and pay at the previous (double inflated) price.

I think microsoft is trying to do the same thing as hardware manufacturers. i.e. Massively inflated Core2Duo, 8800GTS/GTX launch price.

Price will come down once everyone in the higher end of the spectrum bought their “premium” copy at “premium” price.
I have personally purchased the OEM Ultimate from overclockers.co.uk. In the end it cost me £141 with overnight shipping (i got an email tonight saying its been shipped it should arrive by monday at latest). Now to think that NA is getting the RETAIL copy for £100 less is bit wrong. To be honest i dont care about the fancy packaging but i do care about the licence. Due to me having to upgrade my PC for the DX10 era i am going to have purchase a new copy at the end of this year as i will have to get AM2+ based motherboard. Now the way i saw it at first was i am getting OEM which is less then half price of RETAIL currently. At the end of the year the price of OEM should have gone down even further and i could purchase another copy and still not pay as much as i would pay for a RETAIL today.

The prices of this OS are higher in EU but i have to admit that i think the EU it self is to blame. EU last year has done nothing but made MS give them millions of pounds in fines so that they would make a version of XP that none ever bought. I say this is MS telling us that they didnt like that very much and now WE the consumers are going to have to pay back all those millions MS had to pay to EU.

Also i looked at the prices for the OSX Tiger and they are cheaper. But if you compare Tiger without any extras added on which makes Tiger not matching to the Ultimate but to more Home Premium and the prices are pretty much even.

(Tiger UK £139.00 , Tiger US $199.00 , Converted Price US>UK amounts to £100.93)

The price variation between two continents is pretty big, but i bet you that MS can justify it, which is probably the reason for such prices.

Plus i dont believe that Mac Platform can justify its self to Windows Platform at the moment, sure the OSX it self might be better but the platform as a whole is 2nd best.
arthurleung
Retailers are just adding salt to injury to rack up price even more.

The retailers will be even happier if M$ do indeed reduce the price as market wish, because there will be at least some person who pre-ordered not knowing the price drop and pay at the previous (double inflated) price.

I think microsoft is trying to do the same thing as hardware manufacturers. i.e. Massively inflated Core2Duo, 8800GTS/GTX launch price.

Price will come down once everyone in the higher end of the spectrum bought their “premium” copy at “premium” price.

Really, honestly, I think these premium buyers are not going to buy - but we'll know soon enough whether I'm right.
Syn
EU last year has done nothing but made MS give them millions of pounds in fines so that they would make a version of XP that none ever bought. I say this is MS telling us that they didnt like that very much and now WE the consumers are going to have to pay back all those millions MS had to pay to EU.
I think Australian pricing for Vista is even worse.
Syn
I have personally purchased the OEM Ultimate from overclockers.co.uk. In the end it cost me £141 with overnight shipping (i got an email tonight saying its been shipped it should arrive by monday at latest). Now to think that NA is getting the RETAIL copy for £100 less is bit wrong.

To be honest i dont care about the fancy packaging but i do care about the licence. Due to me having to upgrade my PC for the DX10 era i am going to have purchase a new copy at the end of this year as i will have to get AM2+ based motherboard.

Now the way i saw it at first was i am getting OEM which is less then half price of RETAIL currently. At the end of the year the price of OEM should have gone down even further and i could purchase another copy and still not pay as much as i would pay for a RETAIL today.

The problem with buy an OEM version of Vista - as I understand it (and this is why I made no mention of OEM prices in the piece) - is that unlike the retail version, you will not be able to migrate the OS from one PC to another; it will be locked to one PC, or so the story goes.

And that is a serious restriction for a good number of the people who might want to buy Vista retail - the more so if, as you say, you are still paying £141 for the pleasure.

Syn
The prices of this OS are higher in EU but i have to admit that i think the EU it self is to blame. EU last year has done nothing but made MS give them millions of pounds in fines so that they would make a version of XP that none ever bought. I say this is MS telling us that they didnt like that very much and now WE the consumers are going to have to pay back all those millions MS had to pay to EU.

Ah, right, so MS falls foul of the law and so dumps on us.

Three rousing cheers for Microsoft, then?

No, I don't think so.

I'm not saying that what the EU did made a great deal of sense to me but I think that Microsoft's own behaviour did bring upon the company the massive fines and other sanctions that were applied.

Syn
Also i looked at the prices for the OSX Tiger and they are cheaper. But if you compare Tiger without any extras added on which makes Tiger not matching to the Ultimate but to more Home Premium and the prices are pretty much even.

(Tiger UK £139.00 , Tiger US $199.00 , Converted Price US>UK amounts to £100.93)

Er, I'm trying to think what's missing from Tiger that is found in Ultimate and not found in XP MCE and I'm coming up short.

I'm not saying you're wrong just that I don't know, specifically, what you think is missing.

As for the pricing - and remember what set me off on one today was the get-two-more-for-$50-each deal offered only to US & Canadian buyers - did you realise that UK price you quote for OS X (£139) is for the Family Pack, which lets you install the OS on up to FIVE Macs!

By my reckoning, that's £27.80 a copy - and the £139 price from the Apple Store does include free delivery!

If you just bought the one-Mac license, the cost is £89 but if you later decided that you wanted, say, to use that OS on two further Macs, you could still buy the Family Pack any time for £139 and you'd still be paying only £69.95 per upgraded Mac.

Syn
The price variation between two continents is pretty big, but i bet you that MS can justify it, which is probably the reason for such prices.

You tell me, if you can, what the difference is between the version you'd buy in the UK and version you'd buy in the USA.

If it's like XP - and I'm sure it will be - there will be no difference.

So what are we paying for?

The higher cost of distributing around the UK, rather than the USA?

The higher cost of the Indian-continent call centres that Microsoft UK uses relative to the Indian-continent call centres that Microsoft USA uses?

Really, I don't see that Microsoft could justify the price differentials even if it tried very hard - and it's never done that in my experience.

Syn
Plus i dont believe that Mac Platform can justify its self to Windows Platform at the moment, sure the OSX it self might be better but the platform as a whole is 2nd best.

Sorry but I simply don't agree.

Some members of the Mac hardware family are more expensive to buy into than Windows equivalents but the hardware platform itself absolutely is not second-best, quite the opposite.

Every single new Mac computer you can buy is based on a new-generation Intel CPU and every one of them can run OS X and Windows XP natively (from different partitions).

That's a really, seriously tempting proposition.

And, you just need to look inside and around a top-end Mac desktop machine to realise that it's a whole lot nicer and better than any Windows desktop PC you can buy.

Okay, there are some Windows machine that will be using CPUs not available yet on Macs but if money were no object I'd go for the Mac every time - though reckon I'd use XP on it for the majority of the time

Now start to look down the Mac range.

There's the iMac family of one-piece machines which are better than any comparable Windows PC (not that there is anything that's really comparable) and, remember, each of them can run Windows XP if you want it to.

Then there's the mini - cute as a barrelful of kittens but smaller (and able to run XP better than the barrel can).

Of course, it could be argued that the reason why Apple can sell Mac OS X far more cheaply than Microsoft plans to sell Vista is because Apple makes all that lovely lolly from overpriced Mac hardware.

But that doesn't stack up all the way across the line.

Take Apple's range of laptops.

This, as I recall, includes a number of models that offer equivalent feature-sets to Dell models costing considerably more.

Believe me, I'm not a Mac apologist - Apple's felt the hard side of my word-processor more times than I like to recall - but the pricing of OS X was a relevant factor for me to throw into the argument about Vista's inflated pricing.