An online retailer today unveiled prices for OEM editions of Windows 7, listing them at discounts of between 45% and 55% off Microsoft's "full" editions -- and pricing them below the upgrades slated to hit shelves next month.
Newegg.com priced the OEM edition of Windows 7 Home Premium at $99.99, 50% off Microsoft's suggested list price of $199.99 for the full version of the new operating system, and 17% less than the $119.99 price of the same edition's "upgrade."
The online retailer priced the OEM editions of Windows 7 Professional and Windows 7 Ultimate at $134.99 and $174.99, respectively, 55% and 45% under the list prices of the same full editions.
Windows 7 Professional OEM was the bargain of the three editions compared to the price for an upgrade copy, selling at Newegg for 33% less than the $199.99 Microsoft charges. Ultimate OEM, meanwhile, was priced 20% under Microsoft's suggested list of $219.99 for an upgrade.
OEM copies of Windows are traditionally cheaper than either the full or upgrade editions, in large part because they're intended for small-scale system builders who install them on new custom-crafted PCs. There's nothing to prevent an individual user, however, from buying and installing an OEM version of Windows on their PC.
The downsides to an OEM edition are that the license bans users from transferring the operating system from one PC to another, it comes sans support of any kind, and it can only be used to do a so-called "clean" install, which requires that data and settings be restored from backups, and applications be reinstalled, after the operating system is on the drive.
Newegg.com priced Windows 7 OEM only slightly differently than Vista OEM. The two versions of Home Premium came with identical price tags ($99.99), while Windows 7 Professional was priced $5 less than the $139.99 charged for Vista Business. The price for Windows 7 Ultimate OEM, however, was $5 more than the $169.99 charged for Vista Ultimate OEM.
OEM edition costs were among the last unknowns in Windows 7's pricing structure. Last June, Microsoft unveiled Windows 7's retail pricing, which reflected a cut for only one edition, Home Premium, from Vista's price tag. Microsoft dropped the price of Windows 7 Home Premium's upgrade by $10, or 8%, and the full version by $40, or 17%, from Vista's.
Newegg is taking pre-orders on the OEM editions of Windows 7, and said on its site that its prices are good through Oct. 20, two days before the operating system's official launch.