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Microsoft Discovers E-Commerce
It Will Sell Vista & Office 2007 Online
Jan. 21, 2007 04:45 PM
With only 12 day left to go before the Great Vista Rollout to consumers on January 30 and missing no trick, Microsoft said late Wednesday that it would break with its tradition of boxed or pre-loaded software and supply the thing online.
It's come up with three ways for customers to buy, upgrade or license multiple copies of Vista over the net: Windows Anytime Upgrade, Windows Marketplace and Windows Vista Family Discount.
The Windows Anytime Upgrade will let people upgrade their existing edition of Vista to a fancier one by clicking the Windows Anytime Upgrade option in the Start menu, selecting what they want, buying it online and getting a new digital key that unlocks the code, which is already on their machine, and then following the on-screen instructions to boot the upgrade.
Microsoft claims the Windows Anytime business model is "unique in the industry" because OEMs and retailers will be able to offer the upgrade as online merchants via a new e-commerce infrastructure that Microsoft developed. It figures retailers and OEMs will have the after-market covered for the first time.
The suggested retail price of upgrades that Microsoft offers are: Home Basic to Home Premium $79, Home Basic to Ultimate $199, Home Premium to Ultimate $159 and Business to Ultimate $139.
The Anytime scheme is supposed to be operating in the US, Canada, Europe and Japan on January 30 when http://www.windowsanytimeupgrade.com should be working.
Microsoft will thoughtfully supply a feature-by-feature comparison of the various versions. Most of the real changes are in the pricier editions. Reportedly one click will take shoppers from the Windows desktop to an e-commerce shopping cart.
Both Vista and Office 2007 will be downloadable from the Windows Marketplace, which is described as the largest online destination for buying software that runs on Windows. Starting January 30 and working with retailers, Windows Marketplace will offer upgrade editions of Vista and full versions of Office 2007 including:
* Vista Business
The Vista editions offered through Windows Marketplace will only be available in English, either 32- or 64-bit. There will also be a lot of Windows-compatible hardware and software, and products that are the Vista-certified.
Microsoft claims the Vista downloads will be fast and easy because of its digital locker technology, described as combining the immediacy of downloaded software with the security features of owning physical media like a DVD. It says "it uses innovative security technology to store purchased software and license keys, efficiently resumes downloads if they are interrupted, and manages the overall installation process. Come the day see http://www.windowsmarketplace.com.
How much upgrading or buying online will get done is a question especially considering the hardware demands of Vista. Wall Mossberg, the Wall Street Journal columnist, is telling people they need a computer that's no more than 18 months old, two gigs of memory and a powerful graphics card to use Vista's bells and whistles. He also found that it didn't work equally well on all new hardware.
Anyway, to make it easier for households with multiple PCs to make the move to Vista, Microsoft will have a limited-time offer for people who buy retail copies of Vista Ultimate. From January 30 through June 30, the Vista Family Discount will let North American customers license two additional copies of Vista Home Premium at the reduced price of $49.99 each. They will have to enter a valid full or upgrade Vista Ultimate key from their retail boxed product to qualify for the deal. See http://www.windowsvista.com/FamilyOffer.
Meanwhile, Microsoft's PR people, who must still get paid by the word, found their own form of segmentation. This week they said Vista should generate $2.5 billion in jobs and revenue for the New Jersey's IT establishment the first year it's out and $4 billion for Florida.
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