Feeds

Windows Vista pricing favors PC upgrades

More is good

The essential guide to IT transformation

Microsoft has published pricing for Windows Vista - and things are looking up for PC manufacturers hoping consumers will start buying shiny new Vista-ready computers.

Microsoft will charge $199 for Windows Vista Home Basic, or $99.95 to upgrade, with prices topping out at $399 for Vista Ultimate, or $259 to upgrade.

Between these two extremes lies Vista Business priced at $299, or $199 to upgrade, and Vista Home Premium at $239, or $159. Vista Enterprise is only available to large organizations from OEMs, so there is no recommend retail pricing.

While Microsoft's entry-level and upgrade prices might appear reasonable on paper to some, and little changed to the five-year-old Windows XP, there are a few clouds to this sliver lining. The first is the ability for machines running Windows XP to actually be able to run Windows Vista, as Microsoft's hardware guidance for new versions of Windows has tended historically towards the, ah, optimistic shall we say.

Microsoft's guidance kicks in at an 800MHz processor, 512MB of memory and a 20Gb hard drive. With at least three versions of Vista for consumers to pick, though, there is the apples and oranges trap to avoid.

Overall Microsoft is introducing five editions of Windows Vista, whose level of functionality - unsurprisingly - increases as the customer pays more.

For consumers, Vista Home Basic does exactly what it says on the box - you get the an OS, browser, search and parental controls but no sexy Aero interface and no Windows Media Center (for watching and recording all those episodes of CSI: Miami, hooking up the Xbox 360, and viewing photos). Those little gems are reserved for users of Vista Home Premium, while Ultimate gives you all this plus additional power features from the business products like BitLocker encryption, support for domain group policy, and advanced and simplified networking.

This makes the act of picking which version of Windows Vista to move to, from the simple world of Windows XP Home and Windows XP Professional, just that little bit harder.

With Vista Home Basic living up to its name customers will likely tend towards Vista Home Premium or Vista Ultimate, making Microsoft's minimum hardware guidance further out of touch with reality and likely to see consumers getting their new copies of Windows Vista loaded on a new PC with beefier specs (3GHz processor, 1Gb of memory and 40Gb hard drive - a basic minimum by today's standards.)

The pressure is therefore on Microsoft to put the hard sell on Vista to convince consumers to buy a new machine. Jupiter Research reckons 52 per cent of American households own at least one PC, leaving plenty of room for a second. Microsoft faces an uphill task, though, as Vista is due in January, when wallets will be lighter in the wake of the Holiday spending frenzy.

Worse, at this stage at least Microsoft doesn't appear to be doing much to encourage uptake beyond offering consumers the blandly appetizing equivalent of Diet Coke for Windows that is Vista Home Basic. Missing is any Apple-style family pack, which gives five additional licenses for OS X Tiger at $199, that would help seed the market.

Instead, it seems, Microsoft is trying to seed the market with developers: five million to be precise, which Microsoft said is its goal for those testing Windows Vista Release Candidate One.®

Secure remote control for conventional and virtual desktops

More from The Register

next story
Why has the web gone to hell? Market chaos and HUMAN NATURE
Tim Berners-Lee isn't happy, but we should be
Apple promises to lift Curse of the Drained iPhone 5 Battery
Have you tried turning it off and...? Never mind, here's a replacement
'Stop dissing Google or quit': OK, I quit, says Code Club co-founder
And now a message from our sponsors: 'STFU or else'
Microsoft boots 1,500 dodgy apps from the Windows Store
DEVELOPERS! DEVELOPERS! DEVELOPERS! Naughty, misleading developers!
Linux turns 23 and Linus Torvalds celebrates as only he can
No, not with swearing, but by controlling the release cycle
Scratched PC-dispatch patch patched, hatched in batch rematch
Windows security update fixed after triggering blue screens (and screams) of death
This is how I set about making a fortune with my own startup
Would you leave your well-paid job to chase your dream?
prev story

Whitepapers

Best practices for enterprise data
Discussing how technology providers have innovated in order to solve new challenges, creating a new framework for enterprise data.
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.
Advanced data protection for your virtualized environments
Find a natural fit for optimizing protection for the often resource-constrained data protection process found in virtual environments.
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.
High Performance for All
While HPC is not new, it has traditionally been seen as a specialist area – is it now geared up to meet more mainstream requirements?