February 27, 2007 4:00 AM PST

Is Windows getting more expensive?

Is Windows getting cheaper or more expensive?

The short answer is easy: neither. Roughly speaking, the Microsoft product sells for the same price it has had for years.

The full answer is more complicated. There are all sorts of factors that go into one's sense of whether the leading operating system "feels" more pricey or less expensive--the cost of other PC components and what gets bundled into the operating system are just a couple of them.

Microsoft General Manger Brad Brooks argues that Windows is a bargain, noting that it keeps getting more features for the same price.

VERSION Full packaged product Upgrade version
Windows 98 $209 $109
Windows ME $209 $109
Windows XP Home $199 $99
Vista Home Basic $199 $99
Vista Home Premium $239 $159

Source: Microsoft

"If you break down the cost of the software over the life of the PC, it works out to be less than how much you'd spend on milk for your family over that same period of time," Brooks said.

Now that Windows Vista has been on store shelves for about a month, it makes sense to take stock of how it stacks up from a value perspective.

On the side that makes it feel cheaper, there is more in Windows than ever. Built into Vista are several types of programs that have, until now, cost extra. It has antispyware, voice recognition software included in the box, and other programs, such as Virtual PC, are available as free downloads.

And, while Microsoft has kept prices roughly flat, inflation means that in absolute dollars, the price of Windows has declined somewhat. An upgrade to Windows 98, for example, cost $109 in 1998. But in 2007 dollars, that's $137, according to a Federal Reserve Web site. Today, a copy of Vista Home Basic upgrade costs $99.

On the other hand, because the prices of other computer parts have dropped substantially over time, Windows has become a relatively more expensive part of the average PC. In 1998, for example, the typical desktop cost around $1,100, compared with $650 today, according to figures from NPD Group.

News.com Poll

The cost of Windows
Has the operating system's price gone up or down over the years?

Cheaper, considering inflation
More expensive, despite the extra features
Seems to be holding steady

View results

Relative value
The fact that other PC component prices have dropped more than Windows doesn't necessarily mean the operating system is a bad deal, NPD analyst Stephen Baker said.

"While it does appear that the absolute cost of Windows has gone up over time, especially in contrast to the overall price of the PC and the other components, that rise certainly appears higher than it really is," Baker said. "Just like in hardware, we have to account for the increased value that the upgrades to the OS provide."

Over the past decade, Windows has integrated the ability to burn music CDs, make movies, record TV shows and edit photos. Also, those abilities haven't come steadily over time, but rather arrived in a bunch with each new Windows release.

"This is much harder than calculating the value of hardware, but I think there clearly has been increased value from the OS," Baker said.

But not all of that value has been just given away by Microsoft. The software maker has introduced pricier editions of the consumer operating system, such as Windows XP Media Center Edition, Windows Vista Home Premium and Windows Vista Ultimate edition. So, while the price of the entry-level operating system has stayed the same, it costs more to get all of the bells and whistles.

Michael Cherry, an analyst with Directions on Microsoft, pointed out that many people won't really get a sense of what they are paying for Vista, because it will come already installed when they buy their next PC. "It's really unknown what they pay for Vista," Cherry said.

He noted that on build-to-order computer sites like Dell's, you can uncheck most components of a PC and see how much they add to the bill--but not always. "You can't just uncheck the operating system," Cherry said. (Dell does sell three machines without an operating system as part of its n-series, but adding Windows is not an option.)

Hidden cost
That means that, in large part, consumers' sense of Windows prices will be guided by the overall price of their computer. As long as that continues to drop, consumers are likely to be oblivious to which actual components inside the PC are coming down in cost.

Also worth noting is the fact that computer makers pay significantly less for the copy of Windows that goes on a new PC than do consumers buying a boxed copy of the operating system.

"From the consumers' perspective, they are getting a lot more bang for the buck then they did two years ago," said Samir Bhavnani, research director at Current Analysis.

However, one wrinkle in this trend is that Vista tends to work best on a more capable machine. Although it is too early to tell, there are some indications that Vista will push up average PC prices, or at least slow the price decline, Bhavnani said. He noted that in February 2006, the percentage of sub-$500 desktops and notebooks sold grew, compared with the prior holiday shopping season. But this past February, as Vista hit the market, the market share of sub-$500 PCs dropped significantly from the prior holiday season.

Even still, Bhavnani doesn't think too many consumers are viewing Windows as pricey. He noted how new cars would seem inexpensive if year after year they stayed the same price and offered more horsepower.

NPD analyst Chris Swenson said more people may start to notice Windows pricing given all of the upgrade and antipiracy measures in Vista. The new options mean that those with non-genuine copies are prompted to pay for their version, while those who want to move to a more full-featured edition can also do so--for a fee.

But most of the people who think about the price of Windows are those who actually go to a retail store and buy an upgrade copy, Cherry said. So far, sales of boxed copies of Vista have trailed initial sales of Windows XP, according to NPD data.

Cherry anticipates that most people will buy a flavor of Vista that corresponds to the version they have of XP. But some will want to move up to a heftier-featured edition, and that will add further to the perceived cost. That's particularly true if a consumer opts for Vista Ultimate, which sells for $259 as an upgrade and $399 for the full product.

"It is a lot more expensive," Cherry said.

See more CNET content tagged:
inflation, Microsoft Windows 98, Microsoft Windows Vista, Microsoft Corp., Microsoft Windows


Join the conversation!
Add your comment
Perception is everything and...
the perception is...it's expensive and buggy.
Posted by rayted32-191126880979139043961 (19 comments )
Reply Link Flag
Vista is buggy if...
you do not have the hardware..
you do not have the knowledge..
I bought my comp..knowing that it would 1.Handle Vista:2.Knowing that companies might have to catch up with drivers etc...
I have now installed Vista(Home Premium)
Everything works
1:Everything Dell put into it
XPS 400(it's on the site 410 now)
So if you have a three year old comp..IT WON'T
Run Vista so good,just like my now seven year old
Compaq can't run XP PRO.
And how do we know it's expensive???
We {{Bought it}}????
or do we have an RC1 Version?
Posted by unlawful (5 comments )
Link Flag
Ignore Vista
If you have any computer savvy at all, ignore Vista.
If you are buying a new computer, get one with out an operating system. Use the one from your old computer, it's still good. You know your programs will work, the device drivers will work, it is stable (or as stable as any MS OS).
Don't fall for MS's marketing nonsense. If you want to try something new or different, try a version of Linux.

My $0.02 worth
Posted by coachgeorge (233 comments )
Reply Link Flag
I am FORCED to agree!
I like Microsoft but I really feel they let me down with Vista. Reasons listed below...
1. Nero does not work need to buy new version.
2. VirtualDrive 10 and under does not work need to buy new version.
3. 128 Meg Nvidia add on card did not work needed to buy another one.
4. Several JAVA related programs did not work. I cannot replace.
5. Sign Language program did not work. I cannot replace. (This was important)
6. My EXPENSIVE Dreamweaver did not work. I hope my workplace will replace it.
7. My disk labeling software (The favorite one) did not work. There was no replacement as of yet.
8. MS Internet Explorer was highly disfunctional. I ended loading up Opera.
9. I was upset that I could no longer put "Control panel in MyComputer (Now called Computer).
10. Unable to temporarly turn off System Restore (There are good reason for this function)
11. I really hate all those open folders. (Really who cares whats in a folder to see page ends sticking out)
This is all I can think of to this date. But I did spend hours trying to get things to work. You should have seen all the error codes (Over 400) listed in task manager. (Its still still there after a hard find and you can no longer get to it with the three finger salute.)That was having this computer for just two weeks. The gadget bar and Areo effects have already gotten old to me afdtewr all the problems I have been confronted with.
Posted by Ted Miller (305 comments )
Link Flag
Is your current OS obsolete?
I will first ask the following questions:
Does the new OS offers the functionality I need?
Does the new OS work fine with my current hardware; do I need to upgrade my hardware?
What new functions are there in the new OS that are so compelling that I must have it?
In the end, the old OS that runs my system fine is just that fine for the job I need to perform. Do I need to upgrade? What is the cost benefit I will get from upgrading? Said that Microsoft is getting its revenue from all new licenses it is getting from the OEM share, not from the retail share. Vista is an OK OS, but it is not that revolutionary as it was the switch from Windows 3.x to Windows 9x when it incorporated the DOS and the Windows shell in one package. Probably I will get Vista when my corporate office replaces my not so old laptop, and that will be fine, in a couple of years.
Posted by frank bruce (92 comments )
Link Flag
You need to work on your grammer.
Posted by Jess McLean (61 comments )
Link Flag
The problem is
Most computers sold come with system restore discs that include the o/s, and not an actual separate disc for the o/s.

If you try to use these discs on a new computer, usually they won't work for assorted reasons (everything from the discs checking the BIOS version and knowing it's not the computer the restore discs are for, to not having any of the drivers required for your new computer).

Usually, it's as simple as the restore disc not working on the new computer.

If you purchased the o/s off the shelf (retail version) like computer savvy people do, then it would work.
Posted by Mergatroid Mania (8395 comments )
Link Flag
Is c|net nuts?
Mac OSX = $129
Windows Vista with EVERYTHING that MacOSX has = $399
To even consider the Home Basic $99 edition is ludicrous! It has
less features than Windows XP!
And please don't bore me with the "Mac people are jealous"
argument! What a waste! Computers are tools, nothing more.
Use the tool that works. If Windows works for you, fine. If Mac
does, fine. I don't care. But I also don't need to spend almost
$400 on just the operating system either! And if you say that
more people use Windows, so what? More people drive cheap
Toyotas... more people eat fast food... more people is a category
I DON'T want to be a part of!
Posted by macvswindows (25 comments )
Reply Link Flag
Give me a $129.99 Apple Computer than
The problem with that is OS X is only for Apple hardware. The fact that Windows and Apple OS X share similar features doesn't really mean anything when you can only buy one operating system on one piece of hardware, for more than I could buy a PC for with Windows on it.

I use both Windows and OS X, I like OS X, but different jobs for different people. I just wish the cults would come to an end. When OS X becomes boxed (and yes I know it comes in a box) and I can ACTUAL install it and use it on something other than Apple's shiny products that captivates the planet with its plastics, than maybe i'll consider it.
Posted by AdamMoore (49 comments )
Link Flag
From a PC Guy: Mac is going to sell more...
Than ever before for JUST the reason you gave. Some people may have "change a phobia" like me but the Mac is a solid piece of well-designed hardware with a top notch OS and INCLUDED apps to get you going right out of the box.
I work in IT managing Windows systems but the more I see of Mac the more I like.
Yes I build my own PCs and that is a draw back since I like to customize my own stuff. That is where I have an issue because there is only one place you can get a Mac and that is from Apple, BUT because Apple has designed it AND the OS it is not as tempermental as a PC with Windows.
I am a WinTel guy but the Mac (especially with the University discounts) is looking more and more atractive.
If I want to run my old apps then I can also load XP on a Mac and run my more expensive apps that I don't want to have to rebuy.

SUMMARY: Vista is going to drive sales of Apple Macs and on the PC side (Believe me I NEVER thought I would say or believe this)I think that Vista will also "jump-start" Linux on the Desktop. I have seen Novell's SuSE Linux Enterprise Desktop and I am VERY impressed, but it too is an OS as a service since you pay $50/yr for the product with support and service.

From a LONG Time WinTel guy I have to say that this is the year of the Mac.
Posted by fred dunn (793 comments )
Link Flag
I too am of the school of thought that what the general public is buying is rarely the best. Most buy ipods, while I researched and found the Creative Zen is a better product - ditto on why I bought a Saab Aero wagon instead of a Volvo Cross Country (still a good car, but it's a Ford!). Apple is one of the few exceptions on the rule that anything that is heavily advertised on tv is crap because you end up paying more for the resources they put into the marketing campaign than the product. The end result - crap in a shiny package!
Posted by RA_REBORN (17 comments )
Link Flag
Um... I agree with everything but the Toyota piece. Toyota makes great vehicles. I wont drive anything but a Toyota/Lexus. I have found from experience that I literally have no mechanical problems with any of their vehicles. American cars, I sadly will not drive. My friends are constantly having problems with them. I will drive my Camry to 300,000 miles without a hiccup.
Posted by lonewolfoolt (8 comments )
Link Flag
No, you are
Lets see, little old me, no computer to my name. My choice, buy a Mac or a PC.

Hmm. . OSX costs $129 and is cheaper than Windows Vista at $399. . . but what good is software going to do me sitting on a desk w/o a machine to run it?

So, I have to buy a machine, perhaps preloaded with an OS. Now, lets look at a Mac vs a PC. PCs are way cheaper. Even when you add the cost of the OS, it is still much cheaper. . . for the same computing power.

I think my money will goto the PC everytime.
Posted by zboot (168 comments )
Link Flag
I agree
When I owned an Amiga, Commodore would come out with o/s upgrades and only charge $60 or $70 for them.

It looks to be that without competition MS can charge whatever they want.

Didn't they get sued in a class action suit for over-charging for Windows a few years back?

Looks like more of the same to me.
Posted by Mergatroid Mania (8395 comments )
Link Flag
If you buy new desktop, the lowest price in the market is still desktop bundled with Windows. You can choose a variety of hardware, not the same with MacOS. I agree with you, use computer that works fine. I use my notebook for my home and work, and my company use windows software. If my company choose to migrate to MacOS, of course, I will follow.
Posted by Gunady (191 comments )
Link Flag
Windows is more expensive
You are only comparing between different Windows versions. If you compare it with other OS's like Mac. and Linux, you will find that Windows in unnecessarily expensive and overrated. Also most applications like antispyware that come with it are there because Windows is not secure enough or not designed well.
Posted by compjobs (11 comments )
Reply Link Flag
How about comparing a computer with a calculator when it comes to adding and substracting?
Posted by Jess McLean (61 comments )
Link Flag
Don't Forget Less Privacy In the Price
OK, compensating for inflation maybe it is not a great deal more expensive but on the other hand it is more invasive. Vista is DRM based OS, meaning that once you buy it you have to prove to Microsoft you bought it to use it through activation that doesn't just occur once it just keeps going and going.
That is what they are trying to do with Windows XP as well and some legitimate customers wind up spending time and resources having to prove to MS that their copy either IS legitimate or was bought legitimately, they distinguish between the two. As you can buy Windows and then later find out it is a counterfeit or illegal copy and YOU are out the money.
Windows XP is slowly moving to a DRM managed service as if you don't download and install the Windows Genuine Advantage you are not able to get some needed options and in some cases updates.

Vista has taken this to the OS as a Service model where if THEY don't think your copy is legitimate then it either goes into a reduced functionality mode or does not work at all.

So When you take that part of the equation into the price of Vista you ARE paying more than you should since they are not having to price into the package the illegal copies that were rampant in prior versions.

Vista IS too expensive and benchmarks prove that in most all categories it does not have any better performance than XP.

I will give Microsoft this the DVD burning capability and the new TCP/IP stack are good, but the rest is just eye-candy that (unless you have a gaming rig) requires substantial upgrades for most people (another cost premium for Vista).
Posted by fred dunn (793 comments )
Reply Link Flag
Is Windows becoming Linux?
Think about it.

Poor driver support.
Requires significant technical knowledge to get fully running.
Limited application compatibility.
Many different and confusing versions.

All they need to do at this point is give it away for basically free, and improve the performance and security and voila...Linux.

Just couldn't resist.
Posted by adlyb1 (123 comments )
Reply Link Flag
Good Analogy...
Hadn't thought about it but you are right. MS was running so so far behind on their next cash-cow that they had to finally set a drop dead date for release and that caused most vendors not to have their drivers ready for inclusion in Vista. When SP1 for Vista comes out it is going to be huge due to the number of drivers needing to be added so people can get this monster working out of the box.
Example: If you only have one PC and you are upgrading it then you restart and you have no NIC driver...NAILED!
Posted by fred dunn (793 comments )
Link Flag
...download Solaris 10 x86 for free and get the most advanced OS (by far) on the planet without any of those problems! Support is also half the price of Linux and you can even go with $49 per instance when you have problems you can't figure out!
Posted by RA_REBORN (17 comments )
Link Flag
Upgrading, is the value there?
After reading more on the upgrade aspect to MS Vista, it would appear that there are many flaws to the logic in the price structure today.
Number one, the component prices are much less than they were in 1998.
Number two, the average cost of a bare computer is far less than in 1998.
Number three, other software companies have already realized that they need to offer a discounted price to be competitive in todays market.
And last, if I were to upgrade my five year old computer that I have spent over $1200.00 to keep updated by adding another piece of software that is going to cost $400.00, will I be able to sell it on the open market used for the entire price of $1600.00 or would I be lucky to recoup the $400.00 for the upgrade?
In todays market, it would be more like I would be able to possibly sell it for maybe $200.00, so where is the logic in having an operating system, the very basics, cost more than the computer is worth?
Linux is looking better everyday!
Posted by floridajimmy (4 comments )
Reply Link Flag
I'ts called "monopoly pricing power"
Next question please....
Posted by asdf (241 comments )
Reply Link Flag
Monopoly only because people allow it...
Windows is a monopoly only because of the old refrain "but
everyone uses Windows". If a service is bad, I don't accept it. I
change the service.
If the food is bad at a restaurant, I tell them so, and if they don't
work with me to improve it, I don't go back. If a store doesn't
sell the products I want, I tell them so, see if they will, and if
they won't, I go to another store.
When we start telling Microsoft that they are not supplying us
with what we need, then do NOT take their "whatever" attitude
as acceptable, things will change. For those that say Mac doesn't
have the software you need, I counter with, if you buy a Mac, the
software will come. The corporate world is not stupid. They will
feed our need if they see we aren't spending our dollars on what
they have now. If Linux does what you need, great! Use it!
Whatever it takes to make the change, WE are in control, not
Microsoft, not Apple, not anyone else!
Posted by macvswindows (25 comments )
Link Flag
My2Cents on the MS monopoly double standard BS
You know, I'm so tired of people calling Bill Gates evil, and touting the "Microsoft Monopoly." Let?s take a second to think about the real world folks?

How about GE; I want a 48" side-by-side for my kitchen, there are like four companies that make that style, however if I want water and ice in the door my only option is the GE Monogram at a price tag of around $9k. (Can I sue them for having "a 48 inch side-by-side with water and ice in the door refrigerator? monopoly?)

How about car makers; After all if you want a Dodge Durango you HAVE to buy it from Dodge... Yeah there are other makers with "similar" products, but if you want the features and/or look of the Durango, you have to buy from Dodge...

Just a couple of examples, but go ahead and pick ANYTHING in your house that you specifically purchased from one company over another because it provided the features or style you wanted and go ahead and try to sue them for their ?monopoly.?

-- To reference for those who didn't quite get that; there are other O/S makers (Linux, Mac, etc.) but if you want the features of Windows (ie the software and hardware that are made for Windows) you buy your OS from Microsoft. -- This is NOT because they have a "monopoly" but because they offer the features YOU want in an OS. --

Somehow it's perfectly okay for every other company in the world to have specialized products, yet it is evil for Microsoft to have created Microsoft Windows, a specialized product for computers?? Please explain this double standard because I don?t understand it.

-- Why is it that no one ever sues the software and hardware creators who don?t support other OS?s? (Oh because that wouldn?t hold water in court; after all the software designers are free to develop their software for whatever OS they want, if they choose to only support Windows, that is their choice.) --

You know what I think? I think that people who whine and complain about the Windows monopoly just don?t want to pay for the features THEY want in their OS. (ie the software and hardware that are made for Windows.)

That is my 2cents,
Posted by ladymystri (1 comment )
Link Flag
Sure, cheaper if you forget
All the costs of upgrading.

I have done some research into upgrading my top end machine to Vista. (Currently running XP Prof).

First, I have to upgrade BOTH scanners, one I have to find a whole new piece of software to run it, the other has to be entirely replaced at the hardware level as the vender has announced no new drivers for the old one! At least the slide scanner can be upgraded wtih jsut software, though I don't have a cost on that yet.

Secondly, Vista still isn't sure if it will support either printer I have as well.

Third, my external disk drive is sure of being supported either. Not to mention my external cd and DVD drives, both of which are made by a company that no longer exists.

Components of the LAN show as questionable as well.

So, lets see:

Vista upgrade $200+
New Scanner: $200+
New printer: $200+
New external hard drive: $150+
New Office software: ???
Replace another program Vista reports as no go: $50

So, we are up to around $1000 and that doesn't even take into account the 2 GB of RAM is not even the recommended for Vista.

Nor does it address that I probably have to update Acrobat and Photoshop as well for another $200-300.

And what do I get for this?

Improved file search capability, which loads most of the directory tree in memory? ***? Why would I even want that, it just wastes resources for NO value.

Or DRM so I can't play music or videos that I have legally downloaded, or purchased? Yeah, that's going to make me go right out and buy it.

Draconian Windows Genuine Advantage, which can bring my system to a halt because it THINKS I did something wrong? (I have a laptop, which changes configuration twice a day, How long before it locks up?)

Microsoft, time to go back to the drawing board.
Posted by Mycroft_514 (19 comments )
Reply Link Flag
Good comments
Good thoughts... [thumbup]
Posted by Andrew Sutherland (15 comments )
Link Flag
Once again, 100% agree
For hardware companies that won't write new drivers for their products, personally I won't buy hardware from those companies any more.

Get this: I bought a MS Sidewinder Pro. It worked great in win 98. Now, the bottom 4 buttons and the twist won't work in XP. MS says a driver they have will fix the problem. I download it, and it still doesn't work.

MS joystick, MS Operating System, and MS driver and it still won't work.

That was the last time I ever bought any hardware made by MS, and I never will again.

That joystick cost me $100 when it first came out, It's a perfectly good stick, hardware works great. I just can't use it because it's made by MS.

I have purchased several new sticks and mice since then, guess who didn't make them?

Any company that refuses to update their drivers for a new o.s will not receive my buisness.
Posted by Mergatroid Mania (8395 comments )
Link Flag
Valid points
Your comment has me scratching my head and wondering why you're changing over to Vista? (Notice that I did not say "upgrading")

I can understand why people who buy new computers are using it. What I cannot understand is what about Vista is so great that people are jumping at the opportunity to buy a beta OS? Is there something you need done that XP doesn't do? It sure sounds as if there's a lot you need done that Vista does NOT.

Why not wait a year and let the market beta test Vista for you? In this time period you'll have a chance to read all the "upgrade horror stories" from people in situations much like yours.

I am reminded of the old saying "If it ain't broke, don't fix it."
Posted by Jim Harmon (329 comments )
Link Flag
more features not always good
> Microsoft General Manger Brad Brooks argues
> that Windows is a bargain, noting that it keeps
> getting more features for the same price.

That's all well and good, but what if I don't want those features? Then it's very expensive. For example, I'd love to avoid paying for and installing IE, Outlook Express, WMP, and a whole host of other "features" that are totally useless to me.
Posted by herkamur (115 comments )
Reply Link Flag
Hidden cost
Tons of hidden costs!! Like a hole wipe of software and hardware! IE: Printers, Webcams, Quickbooks, you name it!)

a $599.00 special I estimated would end up being $2,350.00 after I was done shopping just to use it! Christ!
Posted by bradyme (43 comments )
Reply Link Flag
From a MS stalwart
MS had better get their act together, or my next PC is going to use Ubuntu Linux or something similar. They need to offer a $50 OS called Vista Solo, for non-networked PCs that are only used for producing documents, doing calculations, and playing games. Some of us feel that the safest and easiest way to deal with the dangers of the 'Net is to not be on the 'Net at all. No spam. No phishing. No viruses. No worms. No hackers. No spyware. No porn. No predators. No weekly patches. No firewall issues. No AV subscriptions. No wasting time with surfing, IM, chat, etc. And no hookup costs or online time fees.

We have two XP PCs at home that are networked only to each other, and one separate Win98 PC that uses dial-up for once-a-day text-only email. In a pinch, we can use it for (dreadfully slow) web access. For anything else that comes up occasionally, I use my work 'Net connection, which is protected by a large full-time staff of well-paid anal-retentive IT professionals.
Posted by dmm (336 comments )
Reply Link Flag
I love it. You've got the BEST protection there is, and (against the will of Microsoft's Grand Dragon) it's totally FREE. The best way to never lose a battle in which you are grossly outnumbered, it simply, don't take part.
Posted by Wiz Wildstar (15 comments )
Link Flag
/em Clears his throat
ROFL... I read this forum all the time and have yet to post. But seeing your last sentance I JUST had to say something...

WE are NOT ALL well paid.. Anal-retentaive sometimes yes. But, that comes from users trying everything they can think of to bypass our internal security so they can Chat or serf. Which in alot of the cases introduces at the very least Cookies. I am looking at our TrendMicro Officescan Summery and See 3290 hits this month so far 4 of which were viruses the rest just cookies..
Sorry I got off track but to reitterate I AM UNDERPAID /chuckle thanks avenue to vent..
Posted by MDizN (1 comment )
Link Flag
So what?
Maybe you're paid to surf on the net. That's good for you. But not all of us do belong to huge companies where everything that comes for the web has to go throuhg 10 ionizating showers. So, what's the point of your statements?
Posted by trialmanager (16 comments )
Link Flag
Inflation adjusted
I love it when media-types compare prices without adjusting for inflation. That's how they keep coming up with higher and higher movie grosses every year!

ANYWAY... here's the ACTUAL price breakdown (adjusted for inflation - shown in 2006 dollars):

Full Upgrade
Win 98: $255 $133
Win ME: $244 $128
Win XP: $225 $112
Vista Basic: $199 $99
Vista H.Prem: $239 $159

Looks like the prices are steadily declining to me (with a slight bump for the "premium" edition). Must be all the competition that Microsoft supposedly DOESN'T have. Soooo... why would a "monopoly" keep lowering prices like that? Hmmm...
Posted by Neo Con (428 comments )
Reply Link Flag
Sorry about the formatting.
Silly C|Net comment formatting. I think you get the gist, though. :)
Posted by Neo Con (428 comments )
Link Flag
Look at the features
And you will see that $99 for Vista Basic is a very large price increase.
Posted by qwerty75 (1164 comments )
Link Flag
Absolutely it's more expensive
The typical desktop that back in 1998 cost $1100, you couldn't give away for free today.

The $650 typical desktop today, back in 1998 would cost you $15-20K at least. At the same time, Windows XP, is only marginally different from Windows NT, yet costs more.

Since the vast majority of windows comes pre-installed on newly purchased computers, the ONLY comparison that makes sense is the price of windows relative to the price of the rest of the computer. And by that benchmark, it's crazy more expensive.
Posted by jimcbr (13 comments )
Reply Link Flag
The $'s are nothing. It's what else Micro$oft costs you...
Like your freedom. For a country that makes so much noise about free speech, freedom of choice, free will, etc., you sure do let Big Business (e.g. Micro$oft), not to mention your own government, walk all over those kinds of freedoms a lot.
Posted by wenid (1 comment )
Reply Link Flag
What are you talking about?
Don't like ms use linux? OSX

What your area only has one cable provider what about your freedom?

Only one DSL provider? What about my freedom?

Your DSL/Cable provider blocks ports and content? What about my freedom.

Do prices take in inflation?

Why is Ultima Online once 9.99 now 12.99 dam its an old game.

Why is my big mac twice what I paid for it when I originaly bought, Windows 3.11.

Come on McDonalds you make a ton of cash, why did you raise the price of my big mac?

Holy crap gas is double the price, it was 10 years ago? EXXON look how much coin you make.
Posted by wolivere (780 comments )
Reply Link Flag
Where's Vista Ultimate in chart???????
Why isn't Windows Vista Ultimate in the chart in the story? I've read that that version of Vista is the only one worth getting as it contains all the "goodies".

Windows is certainly getting more expensive, no doubt about that.
Posted by pentium4forever (192 comments )
Reply Link Flag
Only Home Edition
The chart compares only Home Edition. It doesn't include Windows XP Professional, Windows Vista Business Edition/Ultimate.
Posted by Gunady (191 comments )
Link Flag
Are you forgetting PC hardware..."THEN"?
From a long time PC user -
Take that $400 for Windows Vista Ultimate, add the price of some really decent hardware, and I bet you will be at or above the same price for a Mac w/OSX pre-loaded.

Just a thought!
Posted by Andrew Sutherland (15 comments )
Reply Link Flag
Oem Version
Vista Ultimate is $200 for the oem version which most people who are going to buy vista. Average Joe will buy a new pc rather then a new OS.
Posted by krushyou (92 comments )
Link Flag
Nominal Cost Preinstalled...
Like most people, I buy my operating systems preinstalled, and the operating system cost is nominal part of the computer system.

It's illogical to compare manufacturing costs to programming costs. Manufacturing costs can be reduced by automation (etc.), but programming can't be automated. It requires real, live, man hours.
Posted by john55440 (1020 comments )
Reply Link Flag
Linux seams to be getting worse
I would almost agree except the new Distro's out there are getting worse.

The workarounds are insane.

Reading the Unbutu forms for support is insane.

Wait okay need to try and make my new video card work with the Linux install.. support responce.

1. When X says it can't start, tell it to **** off
2. Press CTRL+ALT+F1 to get to a console
3. Type "sudo su" and press enter
4. Type "vim /etc/X11/xorg.conf" and press enter.
5. Type this:
and press enter. I typed that on its own line because you actually have to type the quotes this time.
6. You should now see a line that says:
Driver "nv"
7. This is the ****** old vi version of vim, so you have to replace "nv" with "vesa", which is annoying.
8. Move the cursor to the 'n'
9. Press 'x' twice to get rid of 'n' and 'v'
10. Press 'i' for insert, then type "vesa"
11. Press Escape, and type: ":wq", that's colon, then 'w' and 'q'. Then press enter
12. You've just saved the file and told stupid X to use the vesa driver
13. Type "exit" to get out of super-user mode
14. Type "startx" and press enter.
15. Then double-click the "install" icon, and you can begin installing xubuntu or ubuntu.

Okay that did not work.. next

Okay try envy.. oh that has issues to?

Okay why won't it work with my 680i? or it can just the network driver issue, just reset you network adapter now and then and you okay, btw keep the second nic disabled.

Well I want to play wow.. oh use wine..wait cursor issue... sound issue.. got that fixed damm wow patched again.. okay redo wine config...

Personaly I have played around with Linux since 1996, and was a huge fan of OpenBSD. The new distro's make me cringe.

Now granted I take the Unbuntu live CD and stick in my 2 year old hardware, and it runs like a charm.

Just most of my games puke, even with wine. An honestly I don't want to spend hours tweaking to get my game running.

What makes people buy windows is that things tend to run. And if there are issues, there are sooo many resources. You don't need to dig around various boards competing with arogant epeen linux script kiddies who just want to spam you as a looser.

Or falling in love with an app or driver mod, only to have the dev team loose intrest and move on.

Or have them split into two different ones then spend time figuring which team you want to play with.

We did a network outage here last weekend. 220+ 2003 servers, we brought down, to do the daylight patch to, and also to recable to our new switch backbone.

Most of those servers had been running straight for over a year. Which for an MS server is pretty impressive.

We use to be a Novell Shop. And we all agreed we could do the same thing our 220+ servers are doing, on about a dozen Novell servers with a few Unix DB servers. And, do it better.

But Just as the people of the 1500-1800's hated the British. We to now live in a world were Microsoft has brought a common platform that 98% of the desktops operate on. Sure some may say French is better, and put there language laws in to protect the culture.
Posted by wolivere (780 comments )
Reply Link Flag
get slackware.org
You need to stick to the Distribution that is consistent, and there is only one that I like and trust www.slackware.org

Also FreeBSD is a great choice.

I don't really like my self RedHat or SUSE (SUSE: acctually I liked it until MS started to get involved with it).
Posted by RompStar_420 (772 comments )
Link Flag
You are running?
Hardware from a company that no longer exists. How is this an MS issue. If you need to or must run this hardware as part of a buissiness venture. You need to way out, what is the cost vs benefit to me. If your current set up run's fine then there is no need.

If you want to do a compelte technology refresh then yes it will be fine.

I myself would ask the question, what am I going to do with my hardware if I have a hardware issue and need a) tech support or b) parts.

That it self is not an MS issue or an MS upgrade issue. Its a buissiness decision that needs to be made.

If its a buissines, you can then use the justification for hardware changes and create a tax write down. (shrug)
Posted by wolivere (780 comments )
Reply Link Flag
Is windows getting more expensive
The cost of the OS in general has not increased in price substantially, but the cost of upgrading your PC to accept the top line of Vista is beyond most people.
That's the reason why Mac is enjoying such a surge in its sales, because people are sick of Microsoft's consistant dominance of the software market.
Microsoft is boasting about their concerns of security and pirating, but here again the same old scenario. Keep your product reasonably priced and people will buy it, make it beyond their reach and they will find a cheaper alternative. In the USA and Canada there are many people who cannot afford an extra $99.00 for an upgrade copy let alone purchase an OS for 200 plus dollars and the expense of upgrading their computers.
Posted by hcharger (1 comment )
Reply Link Flag
Novell has always been a unix deritive core. Novell lost our to MS in the server OS war not due to bad software. But, due to arrogance and bad marketing.

Novell picked up Wordperfect to compete agains MS, and again shot themselves in the foot. They took the #1 desktop Wordprocessor and moved it into no mans land.

Corel then picked up the suite, and ported it to linux, even made it free for a while, but lack of user pick up killed it.

Now Novell is looking again to compete against MS so picked up on Susie. Its not like you are taking a leviathon, and having them compete. I hope Novell does well. But people need to stop worrying aboudirectly competeing with MS, and just doing what they do best, and making sure the whole world knows about it.

Now IBM sells 1.1 million servers per quarter. So 4.4 million per year on average. They reported 460,000 thousand servers have been shipped with Linux. (Since 1998) So out of 39 million servers 460,000 were linux box's. Most of those targeted as System 36 replacements. But most telling is the % number of shipments per year preloaded with linux has been in a decline since 2002.

Now HP has outshipped IBM with Linux over the same period, breaknig the 1 million mark. But there total server shipments are also higher.

For Novell, sadly there linux shipements are at the cost of the old true Novell install sites. So although the numbers show an increas the Novell Netware base is decreasing to support this.

I love Novell, I really really due, I just wish they had some marketing sense.

And Dell, well Dell is looking at a snap back this year.
Posted by wolivere (780 comments )
Reply Link Flag
ship rates may not tell the full story. Most to the IT people I know
are saying they are loading Linux on systems in house because it is
Posted by cashaww (77 comments )
Link Flag
How to keep Windows Cheap!
1-Hardware for windows is at an all time low. Better yet, build your own.
A-Best argument for not buying a Mac!
2-Use your existing version of XP or buy XP Pro. It can now be purchased very cheaply.
3-Update everything religiously
4-If you want an OSX look, download a free XP skin.
5-Have an itch for something new, download and burn a free copy of Linux. It can be dual booted, give you the tech challenge that Vista will, yet will not blow away your existing windows load.

My $0.02 worth
Posted by coachgeorge (233 comments )
Reply Link Flag
Hardware for Mac is also at an all time low, actually lower
Mac's prices are also at an alltime low. YOu can build one, but look here: <a class="jive-link-external" href="http://www.applematters.com/index.php/section/comments/is-the-mac-pro-really-cheaper-than-a-dell/" target="_newWindow">http://www.applematters.com/index.php/section/comments/is-the-mac-pro-really-cheaper-than-a-dell/</a>

Even if buy Win XP cheaply and slappit on the Mac its cheaper then buying a new Windows system.
Posted by itsmillertime4u (11 comments )
Link Flag
Goody for you, but ...
"Better yet, build your own. A-Best argument for not buying a

I'm not sure what percentage of users couldn't build their own
computer, but the percentage of those who for whatever reason
don't WANT to do so is quite high.

"If you want an OSX look, download a free XP skin."

This is what many Windows users don't get: I don't want the OSX
look, I want the OSX functionality and security. I can't get that
with Windows, no matter how hard they try to emulate the OSX

And no, I don't want to pay Microsoft another $60 for Windows
Live One/Care for the security that should have been built into
the OS, and then keep paying $60 a year to maintain that
"service", which of course should be counted in as a cost of

"Have an itch for something new, download and burn a free copy
of Linux."

Again, something the techies and computer savvy users like you
can and will do, but the average user can't and won't.

Yes, it does seem easy to you, but even if you set it up for a
novice user, they can run it until something goes wrong, and
then they are stuck until you can come over to fix it.

I'm tired of troubleshooting Windows, much less Linux, for
people who would be better off using OSX.
Posted by VidPro (60 comments )
Link Flag
Why is CNet pro M$ ?
Whenever I see a CNet article about Vista, it appears very Pro M$ - like it is promoting Vista, in regards to features, value, and its place in the industry in the news section.

I can understand if CNet put something that said "editorial" or "opinion" but these type of articles are always presented as being news - articles that relay unbias information.

Take this article for instance about the comparitive value of Win 98 to basic Vista Home - I remember buying the retail boxed version of Win 98 and I didn't pay $199 for it but $75, and in terms of value, it never seemed to be worth that amount.

As to value, I can't see the reasoning about pricing Vista Home Basic at $200 (forget about the upgrade package - they never work or perform as expected).
Vista Basic is basically Vista with IE - according to M$, this version is not suited for laptops and only good for basic home networking. And if you look at it by how M$ describes it, except for the promise of a more secure internet environment for Ie (snicker), Vista Basic seems more like a downgrade from XP Home Edition.
It seems if you want to upgrade from XP Home Edition to a more complimentary upgrade then it would have to be Vista Home Premium at $239.

To be fair, I don't have Vista, I'm still using XP Pro but i don't see the need why a consumer needs to be saddled with Meeting Center, Movie Maker, or Windows Flip just to get a good environment to play games, attach to the Internet, and still have a PC environment that is compatible with my employment environment.
I don't see the value for the extras; in my POV, it would have been better if M$ stuck with the model that works for XP - a home edition and a Pro (business) edition, while putting the extras in an online catalog to purchase instead of bundeling them.
Posted by techned (200 comments )
Reply Link Flag
You know
You know, PCWorld is a great place to bash M$
Posted by Jess McLean (61 comments )
Link Flag
They're pro staying in business
CNET cannot survive as a viable business entity without all of the hardware and software that's driven by MS Windows (and now Vista). Thus, they are not likely to cut off the hands that feed them. Notice their ranking of Vista? They give it a high mark while at the same time saying it's not worth the upgrade. Anybody that reads reviews on CNet need to keep in mind that they need to pander to the industry and cannot be truely objective much as a car or a golf magazine can't be too negative on products that advertise in their magazines.
Posted by oxtail01 (308 comments )
Link Flag

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