Engadget says they’ve unearthed a confidential memo from Best Buy that gives away some pricing information for Windows 7.
According to the memo, Best Buy will kick off its Technology Guarantee program on June 26. Beginning on that date, you’ll be able to buy a PC with Windows Vista Home Premium, Business, or Ultimate and get a coupon good for a free upgrade to Windows 7 when it’s released in October. That matches up with information I’ve heard as well and is consistent with how Microsoft has handled product launches in the past.
The other, more interesting detail is that Best Buy plans to pre-sell select versions of Windows 7 online, for a 16-day period that runs from June 26 through July 11. If the memo is accurate, you’ll be able to buy a Windows 7 Home Premium upgrade package for $49.99 and a Windows 7 Professional upgrade package for $99.99.
Several months ago, Microsoft’s General Manager for Windows, Mike Ybarra, told me that we we can expect “aggressive price points and some very good offers” when Windows 7 is released. This certainly qualifies on both standards. The comparable prices for Windows Vista are $129 and $199, respectively, and the discounted prices at retailers like Newegg and Amazon typically knock only 10 bucks or so off the sticker. If Microsoft prices Windows 7 in line with Vista, the Best Buy deal represents a discount of 50% on Professional edition and more than 60% on Home Premium. Yeah, that’s aggressive.
Obviously, this limited-time promotion is lower than the average selling price that Windows 7 will command when it’s officially released. But I expect it’s only the first of many deals to come from Microsoft’s retail partners.
What else can we expect to see? Back in early 2007, Microsoft offered a so-called Family Discount for Windows Vista, which allowed anyone with a Vista Ultimate license to purchase two Home Premium upgrades for $49.99 each. I expect to see an improved version of the Family Discount this time around. If Microsoft wanted to aim directly at its archrival Apple, it could sell three Home Premium upgrade licenses (to be used only in a single home) for $199 or less.
Asked to comment on the contents of the Best Buy memo, a Microsoft spokesperson offered the following:
As announced earlier this week, we’re continuing to work with our retail and OEM partners to provide Windows 7 Upgrade Option programs and other offers to consumers interested in experiencing Windows 7, which will be publicly available on October 22nd. We’re excited to share additional details regarding these programs soon, but do not have additional details to announce at this time.
I’ve been told by other sources to expect additional details later this month and will pass them along when I receive them.