Microsoft drops Windows 7 discounts

Sales remain brisk; Home Premium Upgrade at No. 1 spot on Amazon bestseller list

As promised, Microsoft ended the deep discounts on Windows 7 pre-orders Saturday and immediately bumped up the new operating system upgrades to their suggested list prices of between $119.99 and $199.99.

The company's retail partners, including Best Buy, Amazon.com, Office Depot and others, also raised their prices for Windows 7 Home Premium Upgrade from $49.99 to $119.99, and for Windows 7 Professional Upgrade from $99.99 to $199.99.

Big box discounter Costco, however, continued to undercut list prices and on Sunday was selling Home Premium Upgrade for $114.99 and Professional Upgrade for $189.99.

Windows 7 Ultimate Upgrade, which was not discounted in the sale that kicked off June 26, sells for $219.99.

Dropping the discount didn't seem to hurt Windows 7's sales on Amazon.com. Home Premium Upgrade had the No. 1 spot on the e-tailer's software bestseller list as of 1 p.m. ET, with Professional Upgrade at No. 2. Amazon updates its bestseller lists hourly.

Although the discounts have been discontinued in the U.S., Canada and Japan, Microsoft will launch a similar sale in the U.K., France and Germany on Wednesday. Those discounts -- €49.99 for Home Premium and €109.99 for Professional -- will represent discounts of 58% and 61%, respectively. The European discounts end Aug. 14.

When it debuted the pre-order discounts, Microsoft said that it had allocated a limited supply of copies for the sale; Apparently that cap was never reached. Late on Saturday, just hours before the midnight deadline, Microsoft's own online store and those of its U.S. partners were still taking orders.

Some analysts have criticized Microsoft for its Windows 7 pricing. Interpret Analyst Michael Gartenberg, for example, noted in June that "the 'real' upgrade pricing is way off for what the market will likely bear, especially during these economic times."

Consumers may get another shot at cheaper Windows 7 upgrades if leaked reseller prices for the expected Family Pack are accurate: Several online dealers listed the three-license product at prices ranging from $136.95 to $144.95. The Family Pack, which reportedly will list for $149.99, lets a household upgrade three PCs to Windows 7 Home Premium, a savings of at least $210 over the purchase price for three separate Upgrade packages.

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