Microsoft is at it again.
The software giant announced more details about its launch of Windows 7, which is slated for release on Oct. 22. And in true Microsoft fashion, it announced a pricing scheme that could easily confuse consumers who are going to the store to pick up a copy of the new operating system.
It shouldn't surprise us. Right now, Microsoft offers four versions of Windows -- Home Basic, Home Premium, Business and Ultimate. They are priced at $199.95, $259.95, $299.95 and $319.95, respectively. Of course, Microsoft contends that pricing its versions like this has nothing to do with confusing consumers and everything to do with ensuring the company is getting what it deserves for the features each version of the operating system has.
On one level, that makes some sense. The more versions of an operating system, the more differences between the packages, the greater the need for different prices. At the same time, not everyone who buys an operating system at the store has done their research. And worst of all, depending on where they buy the software, the sales clerk might not even be able to help them. So, as they consider the various differences between the four operating systems Microsoft currently offers, they're left guessing which version is best for them by considering their name and price.
Windows 7 Home Premium will cost $120 for an upgrade and $200 if the user decides to purchase the full version. Windows 7 Professional boasts a $200 upgrade price tag and a $300 charge for the full version. Finally, Windows 7 Ultimate, the best version Microsoft has to offer, will retail for $220 as an upgrade and $320 as a full version. Microsoft contends it's making it "easier than ever" for consumers to find the right version of the software they want. But for most consumers and business customers that need to consider this pricing, it looks similar to what Microsoft tried with Windows Vista.