Vista: downloadable, upgradeable, volumelicensable (and bad liquids)

That's a nice view: IT Blogwatch, in which people will soon be able to download Vista, upgrade it, and even have a volume license for home use. Not to mention 29 liquids which should never be allowed on commercial aircraft ...

Eric Lai pulls back Microsoft's kimono:

Microsoft Corp. yesterday unveiled more discounts and upgrade options for Windows Vista aimed at jump-starting sales of the operating system. Probably the most dramatic is a discount aimed at families running multiple computers at home. From Jan. 30 to June 30, North American customers who buy an upgrade or full retail copy of Windows Vista Ultimate will be able to get one or two additional copies of Windows Vista Home Premium for use on other PCs at $49.99 each ... But to get the discounted price, users will have to lay out a tidy sum: $399 for a full version of Windows Vista Ultimate or $259 for the upgrade from Windows XP or 2000.

While the discount is targeted at families, small businesses can take advantage of it, too ... However, customers who only own a reseller version of Windows Vista Ultimate -- that is, one that was preinstalled when they bought a new PC -- are not eligible for the discount.


Microsoft announced another upgrade program to customers today. Through a program called Windows Anytime Upgrade (WAU), customers will be allowed to upgrade to more powerful versions of Vista by simply clicking within Windows, purchasing an upgrade from Microsoft's Web site and downloading an activation key ... Microsoft confirmed an earlier announcement that customers will be able to buy several versions of Windows Vista and 2007 Microsoft Office and download them online from ...

Aaron Ricadela adds:

Until now, Microsoft hasn't considered electronic software distribution to be secure or simple enough for its largest products ... The company plans to offer Windows and Office for sale on the Web using technology called digital locker, which can safely store the alphanumeric license "keys" that provide customers with rights to use its products, and resume interrupted downloads.

Not that most PC users are apt to try it ... Downloading Vista and Office '07 will likely appeal primarily to what Microsoft's market researchers call "super-engaged" customers -- the 15% of PC users who think nothing of cracking open the computer case for an upgrade, trying new technology, and then blogging about it or telling friends.


Windows Anytime Upgrade ... is aimed at customers who want more features than are included in the version they initially bought, and Microsoft plans to offer hefty discounts to customers who upgrade this way. (Note to Mac users: It won't work for running Windows side by side with Mac OS X on a Mac machine using Apple's Boot Camp software -- you will have to buy a full-priced version of Windows).

Ken Fisher likes it:

Microsoft [is] taking a confident stance against piracy. By packing all four operating-system versions into a single retail disc package, Microsoft can rely on its own antipiracy tools to validate on-the-fly upgrades ... a shrewd move by Microsoft. Windows Vista Family Discount will give Vista Ultimate buyers with multiple PCs in the home a relatively inexpensive way to upgrade their machines while costing Microsoft relatively little.

Barbara Sehr sets the wayback machine to Stun:

Remember the national excitement, the fanfare and the circus that surrounded the introduction of Windows 95 more than a decade ago? Windows Vista appears to be opting for a more reserved debutante ball. Instead of waiting in long lines before midnight on January 30, users will have the option of downloading Windows Vista online. This is the first time a Microsoft operating system will be available for download. Until now, operating systems have been sold only through retail and through the purchase of a new PC. Of course business users have already had Windows Vista available since the end of November.

Joe Wilcox curmudgeonizes:

I suppose one Ultimate and two copies of Windows Vista Premium looks like a steal at $500. But it's a bum deal and no bargain, ultimately ... The deal's shortcomings aren't complicated to understand: upfront cost, basic value, potential buyers and realistic state of multi-PC households ... The only realistic candidates for Microsoft's Ultimate discount would be consumers purchasing more than one PC within the last 12 months to 18 months ... Windows Vista Family Discount is a great way for Microsoft to push off complaints about family pricing, while offering something that most consumers won't buy. If Microsoft sincerely believes that the Family Discount will drive lots of Vista upgrades, the belief is mistaken


A more sensible option would have been to offer Windows Vista Home Basic at low cost or even free with some Premium or Ultimate SKUs for households with two or more PCs. Many of those vintage PCs would be capable of running Windows Basic.

Scott Silverman:

While Microsoft isn’t really trying anything new here—they’ve offered paid software for download for quite sometime—they are venturing into a new field by offering an entire OS for download. My question then is this: should Apple try something similar? I can see an online software store taking off, even if it just offered iWork and iLife at first, maybe it would someday offer Leopard. Do you think Apple would be good to try something like this? I mean, really, what do that have to lose?

Lord Satri:

As much as some can hate Microsoft, this is good and others should follow. At least good for the environment, less hardware, less energy used for shipping. Of course, the ability to burn an Install and Crash/Recover DVD is essential. It even allows reaching the customers faster. I guess it would also be appropriate to continue shipping physical copies for those with limited Internet access and/or want the user manual. (I don't think this will significantly impact piracy. Piracy will occur anyway.)


If they play this right, they will be able to sell minimalistic versions of their OS (or pass them out in magazines and newspapers) just to get things started. Then, if people want more functionality, say to burn a CD/DVD or whatever, they pay for it incrementally. It would make the OS feel more affordable. I can imagine many people going for this.

Buffer overflow:

Around the Net Around Computerworld Previously in IT Blogwatch

And finally... 29 Liquids which Should Never be Allowed on Commercial Aircraft

Richi Jennings is an independent technology and marketing consultant, specializing in email, blogging, Linux, and computer security. A 20 year, cross-functional IT veteran, he is also an analyst at Ferris Research. Contact Richi at

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