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Tuesday, 22 August 2006 16:01

Microsoft ready to go with Vista incentives before January

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Two things are clear about the impending release of Windows Vista. One is that come hell or high water Microsoft intends to get the new operating system out the door in January 2007. The second is that Microsoft will be pulling out all stops to get Vista on desktops in January by offering free or at least heavily discounted upgrades to 2006 holiday season buyers.

These reports are of course leaking out from stories fed by Microsoft itself through media services such as Bloomberg and Reuters.

The problem for Microsoft is that after five years of keeping customers waiting for Vista it feels it cannot afford another slip in the release date. However, January is a less than ideal time for a new consumer product release, coming straight after the holiday shopping season.

PC makers are worried that the prospect of a January Vista release will inhibit holiday shoppers from buying computers until 2007. Thus, Microsoft and the hardware manufacturers are already discussing incentive deals that would enable holiday PC buyers to upgrade to Vista for little or no added cost. One such deal that has been suggested is offering purchasers free Vista upgrade coupons.

Unfortunately for both Microsoft and the PC makers is that the holiday season is still four months away. Between now and then is the end of the Northern Hemisphere summer and the start of school, when parents often make computer purchases for education purposes.

With all the loose talk of free or discounted Vista upgrades in December, prospective PC buyers in August and September may well feel justified in waiting the extra three months before parting with their hard-earned money.

Looking at this from Microsoft's point of view, one would think the software company has little to lose and much to gain by offering free upgrade coupons immediately. It would encourage PC buyers not to delay their purchasing decisions between now and the realse of Vista. After all, why should a PC buyer have to purchase an operating system twice within the space of four months?

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Stan Beer

 

Stan Beer co-founded iTWire in 2005. With 30 plus years of experience working in IT and Australian technology media, Beer has published articles in most of the IT publications that have mattered, including the AFR, The Australian, SMH, The Age, as well as a multitude of trade publications.

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