Microsoft has announced the UK pricing of its Windows 7 operating system prior to its launch in October 2009, and will offer discounts to customers who pre-order it in July.
For more information on Windows 7 features, check out the Which? Windows 7 preview.
Previous Microsoft operating system (OS) upgrades, such as the upgrade from XP to Vista, have been offered with reduced-price ‘Upgrade’ versions for Windows users running the previous version. In the case of Windows 7, however, Microsoft says that ‘technical issues’ related to its removal of Internet Explorer from Windows 7 to comply with European competition regulations make this impossible.
According to the BBC, a European Commission spokesperson dismissed Microsoft’s claim that it was taking the action to comply with European laws: ‘The essential point of our case is consumer choice. We would want to look extremely closely at the terms under which Microsoft is making Internet Explorer available to computer manufacturers.
‘If the effect of the technical separation of Windows and Internet Explorer is neutralised by particular terms and conditions they offer to manufacturers to install Internet Explorer, they’re no better off,’ the spokesperson said. The preferred remedy for Europe, he said, was to offer users a screen when they first switch on Windows 7 that gives them a choice between IE, Chrome, Firefox, Safari or Opera.
‘For them [Microsoft] to claim that this is somehow imposed by the Commission or is going to resolve the problem with the Commission is far from clear.’
Reduced Windows 7 prices in 2009
As a concession, Microsoft has said that from its launch on the 22 October, until at least the end of 2009, a full copy of Windows 7 Home Premium will be available to buy for £79.99 – a substantial saving of almost 50%.
In addition, the company will be releasing a limited number of copies for pre-order from the 15th July. These will cost £49.99 for Windows 7 Home Premium or £99.99 for Windows 7 Professional. These copies will be delivered when Windows 7 launches on the 22nd October.
When the special offer period ends, Windows 7 pricing will increase to £149.99 for Windows 7 Home Premium, £219.99 for Windows 7 Professional and £229.99 for Windows 7 Ultimate version.
Microsoft also announced that PC makers will be able to sell Windows Vista PCs, laptops and netbooks with a free Windows 7 upgrade license from tomorrow – the ‘Windows 7 Upgrade Option’. The October upgrade will be free, although there may be a delivery fee.
How to follow the latest Which? Tech news
Are you a Twitter user? Follow WhichTech on Twitter for regular tech tweets.
Prefer RSS? Don’t miss a thing with the Which? tech RSS feed.
For just the main headlines in newsletter form, sign-up to our weekly Which? tech email.
Apple iPad 2 3G data plans compared – find the best 3G plan for your iPad
Best Android tablets round-up – we look at the best iPad alternatives around
Best cheap laptops for under £500 – find the best laptop deals