by Shane O'Neill

Microsoft’s Windows 7 ‘Family Pack’ Leaves Users Guessing

Jul 07, 20093 mins
Data Center

If Microsoft rolls out a Windows 7 "Family Pack", users who bought up pre-order copies of Windows 7 have a right to be miffed.

Sorry for another Windows 7 pricing story, but it’s a little slow this week.

So with that said, I give you a number: 150.

One hundred and fifty dollars. If Microsoft charges less than that for its alleged Windows 7 three-license “Family Pack”, it will be helping some customers, but betraying many others. It helps because, hey, anything below $150 is a pretty good deal for three copies of Windows 7 for your home. But for those who bought discounted pre-order copies, it’s a betrayal.

Windows 7 Bible: Your Complete Guide to the Next Version of Windows

If you pre-ordered three copies of Windows 7 Home Premium at $49.99 a pop for a total of $149.97, how will you feel if Microsoft waits until the pre-order deal is over (July 11) to announce that you can get a three-license family pack for, let’s say hypothetically, $120? I would feel like Microsoft owes me money — $29.97 to be exact.

As we wait for the software giant to announce pricing for the much-discussed Windows 7 Family Pack, Microsoft has backed itself into a corner. If there was a Windows 7 Family Pack in the works, availability and pricing should have been announced before the pre-order deal started. That way, if you need Windows 7 for three machines in your house you would know to wait for the family pack, if indeed it is cheaper.

And chances are it will be cheaper now that Apple dropped its price for a five-license family pack for the upcoming Snow Leopard OS to a measly $49.99.

Microsoft does have a three-license deal for its other cash cow, Office. Computerworld’s Gregg Keizer ran some numbers in a recent story and estimated that if Microsoft uses a pricing model similar to the three-license Office Home and Student 2007, it could price a Windows 7 Family Pack anywhere from $74 to $136.

Much has backfired in Microsoft’s attempt to slash prices for Windows 7. The upgrade prices for the OS, though lower than predecessor Vista, were not deemed low enough by some industry experts. And users have fumed that Microsoft has offered no change in price between Vista Ultimate and Windows 7 Ultimate after Vista Ultimate failed to deliver on its features and high price.

The only deal that was embraced was the limited (from June 26 – July 11) pre-order deal for Windows 7 Home Premium and Professional, for 49.99 and 99.99 respectively. But that won’t look like a deal anymore if Microsoft announces a three-license Family Pack for less money than three pre-ordered copies. It will look like deception.

If Microsoft prices the three-license Windows 7 Family Pack at $189 as veteran blogger Ed Bott suggests, then, yes, buying three copies of the pre-order is a better deal. But that’s a guess customers should not have to make.

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