Microsoft has disclosed what you'll have to pay to get hold of its next operating system.
Microsoft on Thursday unveiled pricing details for its highly anticipated Windows 7 operating system, which is expected to be available in stores on Oct. 22. The software maker also announced a program that starts Friday under which consumers can pre-order Windows 7 for the next two weeks at discounts of more than 50%.
The full version of Windows 7 Home Premium is priced at $199, with an upgrade from Vista or XP costing $119. The full version of Windows 7 Professional is $299, with upgrades going for $199. Windows 7 Ultimate is priced at $319, with the upgrade version at $219.
In what's perhaps a nod to the recession and increased competition in the software market, the prices are about 10% less than what Microsoft charged for the corresponding versions of Windows Vista when that product shipped in January of 2007.
Additionally, customers in the U.S., Canada, and Japan who pre-order Windows 7 from certain online and brick-and-mortar stores—including Amazon and Best Buy--between June 25th and July 11th will receive discounts of more than 50%, Microsoft said. The same program is available in the UK, France, and Germany between July 15th and Aug. 14th.
"Overall, customers will be paying less and getting more with Windows 7," wrote Brandon LeBlanc, Microsoft's in-house Windows blogger, in a post Thursday that revealed the pricing details.
Microsoft on Thursday also provided more details around a previously disclosed upgrade program.
Consumers who purchase a Vista-based personal computer as of Friday will be eligible to upgrade the system to Windows 7 at no or little cost when the latter becomes available on Oct. 22nd.
The Windows 7 Upgrade Option, as the program is called, officially begins June 26, said LeBlanc.
"Anyone who buys a PC from a participating OEM or retailer with Windows Vista Home Premium, Business, or Ultimate on it will all receive an upgrade to the corresponding version at little or no cost to customers," wrote LeBlanc.
Earlier this week, Microsoft urged consumers who are using the beta version of Windows 7 to switch to the more fully developed Release Candidate as the Windows 7 Beta will enter its expiration period next week.
Windows 7 is said to be lighter and easier to use than its predecessor. It also includes a number of slick new tools that aim to improve everyday tasks such as desktop searches and PC-to-PC file transfers.