FAQ: How much will Windows 7 cost you?

We parse Microsoft's convoluted prices to help you find the best deal

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You can get Windows 7 RC here.

I live in Europe. What will I pay for Windows 7? More than if you lived in the U.S.

European prices are a veritable snake pit of confusion. First of all, Microsoft won't be selling "Upgrade" editions of the new OS until at least 2010, since it faces technical issues with upgrading from Windows Vista. In fact, Microsoft will block customers in the European Union from doing "in-place" upgrades, which would leave some version of Internet Explorer (IE) on the machine.

That stems from its decision to head off EU antitrust regulators, who have charged the company with illegally tying IE to Windows and are considering more drastic measures.

Instead, it will sell FPP versions of Windows 7 Home Premium, Professional and Ultimate at upgrade SKU prices. Those prices range from €119.99 for Home Premium, €285 for Professional and €299 for Ultimate. All are substantially higher than the prices for U.S. buyers, a fact that Microsoft has tried to dispute.

You said "until at least 2010." What happens then? We're not sure. Microsoft's not coming right out and saying it, but their top Windows exec, Bill Vehgte, this week said, "In the future we may have an upgrade offering of Windows 7 available in Europe, and at that time we would revert to differential pricing of the full and upgrade versions, as we have in the rest of the world."

In plain English, that means that the FPP of Windows 7 may see a price increase as Upgrade SKUs appear in the EU. The full version of Windows 7 Home Premium has been priced at €199.99, Professional at €309 and Ultimate at €319.

I have a Mac. How much will I pay to upgrade to a new OS Hey, who let you in here?

Okay, smart guy, you get Mac OS 10.6, aka "Snow Leopard," sometime in September for the low, low price of just $29.

Any special deals, discounts, Upgrade SKUs, FPP editions, factory-downgrade prices for me? No. $29. That's it. Repeat after me: $29, $29, $29.

WINDOWS 7 RETAIL PRICES

Windows 7 Price Vista Price % Decrease
Home Premium Upgrade $119.99 $129.99 7.7%
Professional Upgrade $199.99 $199.99 0.0%
Ultimate Upgrade $219.99 $219.99 0.0%
Home Premium Full $199.99 $239.99 16.7%
Professional Full $299.99 $299.99 0.0%
Ultimate Full $319.99 $319.99 0.0%

Copyright © 2009 IDG Communications, Inc.

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