Feeds

MS WinME ‘promotional’ deal is a disguised price hike

And not a particularly well disguised one, either...

  • alert
  • submit to reddit

Build a business case: developing custom apps

Yesterday Microsoft revealed the price of the Windows ME upgrade, happily trumpeting that its "promotional" price of $59.95 "makes it affordable for Windows 98 and Windows 98 Second Edition customers to stay current with the latest consumer operating system." It's a great deal, said Microsoft, and by a remarkable coincidence several stories alleging that WinME had been priced low appeared across the Web.

We were particularly taken by a bijou opinionette piece by a Gartner analyst who should know better. The "promotional" $59.95 will be for an unspecified but limited period, after which it will "revert" to $109, which is the current price for the Windows 98 SE and Windows 95 upgrades (bizarrely, the latter is still listed at shop.microsoft.com).

But if you cast your mind back to around a year ago, when Win98 SE came out, don't you remember a certain amount of confusion with service packs, upgrades that were a lot cheaper, even upgrades that were free? Well you should. If you look here, you'll find that Microsoft is still offering Win98 users the opportunity to upgrade to SE for $19.95.

Similar prices were prevalent in various other parts of the world, and while Microsoft UK did give away the SE upgrade to a few early applicants, later ones got hit with "media costs" that mysteriously came to around that price too.

But anyway, last time around, Microsoft put out a new OS, SE, at the same time as the service pack, and it really looked a lot like a service pack. The whole thing was a mess, and the company wound up only being able to charge Monopoly (we use the term advisedly) money for it. This time around, the WinME upgrade from the previous version still looks pretty much like a service pack, and our friend the Gartner analyst sagely observes that the reason the price is "lower" is because there's actually not a lot new there.

It's even pretty well possible to ugrade Win98 to WinME functionality for free, if you work your way systematically through the downloads and service packs. But if you actually buy it it's not free, it's not cheaper, it's more expensive - if you miss the "limited time" promotion, upgrading from SE to WinME will be five times more expensive than moving from 98 to SE. But that's not what the press release and a number of pubs say, is it? ®

Related story

WinME - not bad at all

Boost IT visibility and business value

More from The Register

next story
Secure microkernel that uses maths to be 'bug free' goes open source
Hacker-repelling, drone-protecting code will soon be yours to tweak as you see fit
NO MORE ALL CAPS and other pleasures of Visual Studio 14
Unpicking a packed preview that breaks down ASP.NET
KDE releases ice-cream coloured Plasma 5 just in time for summer
Melty but refreshing - popular rival to Mint's Cinnamon's still a work in progress
Leaked Windows Phone 8.1 Update specs tease details of Nokia's next mobes
New screen sizes, dual SIMs, voice over LTE, and more
Another day, another Firefox: Version 31 is upon us ALREADY
Web devs, Mozilla really wants you to like this one
Put down that Oracle database patch: It could cost $23,000 per CPU
On-by-default INMEMORY tech a boon for developers ... as long as they can afford it
Google shows off new Chrome OS look
Athena springs full-grown from Chromium project's head
prev story

Whitepapers

Implementing global e-invoicing with guaranteed legal certainty
Explaining the role local tax compliance plays in successful supply chain management and e-business and how leading global brands are addressing this.
The Essential Guide to IT Transformation
ServiceNow discusses three IT transformations that can help CIO's automate IT services to transform IT and the enterprise.
Consolidation: The Foundation for IT Business Transformation
In this whitepaper learn how effective consolidation of IT and business resources can enable multiple, meaningful business benefits.
How modern custom applications can spur business growth
Learn how to create, deploy and manage custom applications without consuming or expanding the need for scarce, expensive IT resources.
Build a business case: developing custom apps
Learn how to maximize the value of custom applications by accelerating and simplifying their development.