REDMOND, Wash.--Microsoft said on Friday that it will charge $149 for the family pack version of Windows 7, which allows users to upgrade up to three PCs to the Home Premium edition of the operating system.
The software maker had previously said it would offer the family pack, but had not said how much it would charge. (It actually inadvertently confirmed the family pack by referencing it in the licensing terms of a test version of Windows 7 that leaked onto the Internet.) The family pack covers those moving from XP or Vista to Windows 7.
Microsoft also announced pricing for the Windows Anytime Upgrade option, which lets users move from one version of Windows 7 to another.
Microsoft said that the move from Windows 7 Starter to Windows 7 Home Premium will cost $79.99. That is one of the key upgrades Microsoft is hoping to sell by convincing Netbook owners that they really want more of the Windows features.
Among the other prices, the move from Windows 7 Home Premium to Windows 7 Professional will cost $89.99, while going from Windows 7 Home Premium to Windows 7 Ultimate will cost $139.99. Although that last move is pricey, it still represents a 12 percent drop in the cost of going from Windows Vista Home Premium to Vista Ultimate.
Because the move involves only entering a new product code, Microsoft said the Anytime Upgrade in Windows 7 can be done in as little as 10 minutes. With Vista, the move also required the use of a special Anytime Upgrade disk.
In the U.S. and 11 other countries, upgrade codes can be purchased at a store or online.
Microsoft noted in some of its communications that the family pack is available "while supplies last." Given that Microsoft would seem to be in a position to make as many boxes as it wants, I pressed the software maker to understand how limited this offer will be. A company representative would only say that it is a new offer that Microsoft is testing and declined to elaborate on the time frame or the number of copies it was limited to.
This post was updated at 3:33 p.m. PST with more information about supply.