Home Your Tech Home Tech Microsoft makes Windows 7 edition upgrades cheaper in US, but what about Australia?

Microsoft makes Windows 7 edition upgrades cheaper in US, but what about Australia?

I don't know about you, but I'm sick and tired of Microsoft US making pronouncements about pricing for Windows 7, but offering essentially no details about anywhere else on the planet, as if the Internet blocked non-US readers from reading Brandon LeBlanc brashly blab on blankly about Windows 7 this and that.

OPINION: Bloody hell, Microsoft, and you too, Mr LeBlanc. Do you sell Windows 7 to a global audience, or are your US customers the only ones that are important?

What am I raving and ranting on about? Microsoft's latest pronouncement from up on high Mount Redmond - that from next week, US customers can get a discount, if they already own Windows 7 Starter or Windows 7 Home Premium on a netbook or notebook, and want to upgrade that edition of Windows 7 to a more expensive edition.

Thus far, there are only two upgrade paths that are receiving a discount - those unfortunate enough to be stuck with Windows 7 Starter edition, presumably on a netbook, who want to upgrade to Windows 7 Home Premium, and those with Windows 7 Home Premium who wish to upgrade to Windows 7 Professional.

Now, while Microsoft did have a brain explosion with the Windows Vista Anytime Upgrades that required you to wait for a DVD to arrive in the post and then wait for a very long time for the damn thing to upgrade, Microsoft did a heck of a lot better with Windows 7.

Windows 7 Anytime Upgrades are delivered over the Internet essentially by purchasing a key, and then it appears whatever version of Windows 7 you're upgrading to just gets turned on, with the whole process taking a few minutes instead of the aforementioned 'long time'.

These two upgrade paths are being discounted, although there's no mention of any discounts for upgrading a version of Windows 7 to Windows 7 Ultimate, yet another slap in the face to anyone interested in Microsoft's most complete Windows 7 version - essentially if you want that one, be prepared to pay - no discounts for you!

Still, most people either want to upgrade to Windows 7 Home Premium to get away from the nasty limitations of Windows 7 Starter 'Microsoft cheapskate' edition, or who want to upgrade a machine with Win 7 Home Premium to Win 7 Professional, letting them use some nice consumer machine to connect to their work domain.

The problem is, unless you're in the US, there's no specific mention of when the rest of the world will get this deal, or really if it will get it at all. This is presumably so local Microsoft subsidiaries in different countries can make this announcement at the 'right time', but far out, is it so hard to co-ordinate a global discount or even mention some vague time frames for other countries in the so called 'Windows 7 Blog'?

Rantings and ravings continued on page two, so bloody well stop wasting time and click on'¦ especially if you work at Microsoft. Yes I'm grumpy. Deal with it.

So, what discounts has Microsoft bestowed upon those in the US who had the idea to buy a Windows 7 PC instead of buying a Mac, an iPad, a Linux box or a blank machine onto which they've loaded Linux or even illegal Hackintoshery instead?

Well, the Windows 7 Starter to Windows 7 Home Premium 'Windows Anytime Upgrade' gets a nice US $30 price cut, falling from US $79.99 to a friendlier US $49.99.

Those who want to upgrade Windows 7 Home Premium to Windows 7 Professional won't find Microsoft anywhere near as generous, dropping the previous US $89.99 to US $79.99, meaning a much slimmer $10 discount.

To add insult to injury, this is no permanent price cut, but merely a 'limited time offer' to cajole as many users as possible to upgrade before July 3rd rolls around, thus even going so far as to stop US users who want to upgrade their existing Windows 7 Starter or Home Premium editions to better editions on the fourth of July!

I mean, c'mon Microsoft, you couldn't extend your deal for one more day? I guess I'm glad you didn't because it has let me point this out to the world'¦ it's almost anti-American and unpatriotic, but hey, I'm not American anyway but Australian so I really don't care, but'¦ sheesh. What's so damned special about the 3rd of July that you chose THIS date over any other?

The only seeming nod to every other country that exists on planet earth besides the United States of America is a statement from Mr LeBlanc which states that ''Details vary by retailer and geography - so check with your local retailers to see which PCs they are offering', but seeing as the US is a pretty big place, this sentence might not even mean 'outside the US' at all. Sigh. Hello Microsoft'¦ there are more countries in the world besides the US!!

On the plus side to this semi-confected outrage I've had enormous fun in whipping up is the fact that Microsoft is, even if only for a 'limited time', actually dropping Windows 7 prices - in a very roundabout kind of way. 

Perhaps if prices were lower to start with none of this price dropping business would be necessary. Although that would have more of a material effect on the bottom line, and hey, Windows 7 has been way, way, waaaaaaay more successful than Vista after all.

So, if you're a netbook buyer who has put up with the insanity that is Windows 7 Starter Edition, well, Microsoft has made it easier for you to tip some more cash into their pockets by buying an 'upgrade' at a cheaper price, and anytime Microsoft lowers prices, that is a good thing.

Now, Microsoft, all you need to do is to bring back, to the US at least, the 3-user license family pack that was removed from sale in the US. Sigh. Rant over.



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Alex Zaharov-Reutt

One of Australia’s best-known technology journalists and consumer tech experts, Alex has appeared in his capacity as technology expert on all of Australia’s free-to-air and pay TV networks on all the major news and current affairs programs, on commercial and public radio, and technology, lifestyle and reality TV shows. Visit Alex at Twitter here.