September 5, 2006 7:44 AM PDT

Microsoft sets Vista prices, expands testing

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Near-final Windows Vista version issued

September 1, 2006

Vista debut hits a delay

March 21, 2006
Microsoft on Tuesday announced retail pricing for Vista, its long-delayed Windows update, and said it will broaden testing to more than 5 million people.

Last week, pricing information had been briefly posted on Microsoft's Canadian Web site.

Then on Friday, Microsoft issued Release Candidate 1 of Windows Vista, a near-final test version of the operating system.

Pricing for full retail versions of the software will be Windows Vista Ultimate, $399; Windows Vista Business, $299; Windows Vista Home Premium, $239; and Windows Vista Home Basic, $199.

Upgrades from Windows XP are priced at Windows Vista Ultimate, $259; Windows Vista Business, $199; Windows Vista Home Premium, $159; and Windows Vista Home Basic, $99.

The company said it is broadening its existing Vista customer preview program. The program lets developers and other business users obtain prerelease code. Microsoft said it will expand the program this week to "technology enthusiasts" so that they can test the consumer-specific features of Vista.

Current customer preview program participants will be able to access the latest Vista test code beginning this week. Microsoft will open the program to new participants in the coming days, it says. Vista RC1 will post to the company?s MSDN and TechNet Web sites for subscriber download this week. In addition, Microsoft says it plans to distribute RC1 DVDs to readers of a number of technology publications worldwide.

As for Vista's launch date, the timing remains unchanged, said Shanen Boettcher, general manager of Windows product management. Microsoft is shooting to wrap up development work in time to ship the operating system to large companies in November and have a mainstream launch of Vista in January, Boettcher said.

See more CNET content tagged:
Microsoft Windows Vista Home Basic, Microsoft Windows Vista Business, Microsoft Windows Vista, Microsoft Windows Vista Ultimate, pricing


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Who cares.
Posted by DryHeatDave (79 comments )
Reply Link Flag
96% of the market cares.
Seeing as how Windows is the greatest operating system (win you take into account the percent marketshare) 96% of us car what it will cost to get our hands on the newest version.
Posted by zeeboid (92 comments )
Link Flag
I care
With 90+% users around the world, it seems majority will care, although some won't upgrade in near future.
Posted by Gunady (191 comments )
Link Flag
Lots of people care
The world of software development definitely cares - when your customers are running Vista, you can't afford to sit back with an anti-Microsoft attitude and tell your clients that they are making bad decisions. You simply cannot support Vista users if you are clueless about Vista.
Posted by David Arbogast (1709 comments )
Link Flag
I kinda do....
As much as I prefer Mac OS X to Windows, I like to play with the latest technology. I'd love to see if the claims of much improved performance over Beta 2 hold water.
Posted by ddesy (4336 comments )
Link Flag
I do
I already have Windows XP installed and want to upgrade to Home Premium. So an upgrade will be $159.. that's fine with me. Plus maybe I can have a dual boot system.

Generally people can get software at cheaper rates than the price quoted my MS. For example, with an educational discount, I can get Win XP professional upgrade for $59. or I can buy an OEM copy of Windows XP in $120-$140.. and I am expecting same for Vista... but I don't mind paying full price either.
Posted by cary1 (924 comments )
Link Flag
Accelerating to the Vistapocalypse
Does anyone have any doubt why Gates left when he did, right before the latest and most Wall-St-watched release of Windows ever? Hackers will tear this puppy to shreds the moment it hits the streets. No company will go near this thing for a decade with the brigades of PC-ripping hackers programming for organizing crime gangs now the job. Gates will be at the Burgermaster in retired splendor while the company implodes.

Gates is smart. That scenario is something no other operating system ever had to contend with. What's worse is that MS knows about the threat and it will take a breathing corporate counsel about 30 seconds to formulate a theory that MS is liable for shipping a dangerous operating system that allowed a company's secrets to be stolen or a bank's customers to be robbed to the last penny.

Imagine, amidst the maelstrom of the Vistapocalypse, MS buckling to its knees as swarm upon swarm of corporate attorneys crawl up its quaking belly and sink their teeth into its neck.
Posted by Sumatra-Bosch (526 comments )
Reply Link Flag
$399 ...
is that $HK or $CAN?
Posted by Lolo Gecko (131 comments )
Reply Link Flag
That figure is in USD.
Its way too exspensive for my blood. :(
Posted by msims (66 comments )
Link Flag
ha ha ha ha
Baka Mindanao Dollars!
Posted by benjiernmd (123 comments )
Link Flag
I care a little bit.
But I work in the IT field. Most people I talk to could care less about gadgets and fancy eye candy that will inevitably show the age of their pc. But I guess that's the point. Pricing for "Ultimate" still seems a bit ridiculous. Depends on how you look at it, though.
Posted by ultrasource (2 comments )
Reply Link Flag
No upgrades from Win98/Me ?
Thats kinda s**k ! :-/
Posted by Grzegorz_Z (10 comments )
Reply Link Flag
Why Would They?
While I have no hard data, I'd say that it's safe to assume that most machines currently running Win98/ME would be older and much less capable of running Vista well.
Posted by hughesonthenet (1 comment )
Link Flag
Big Deal
$99 dollars + for an imatation OS loaded with massive security issues. Right now, you can get every feature(excluding the security problems), done better, for free. So when is MS going to leave the 80's behind and offer a self-defragging file system? lol

Why am I(and most of the world) not excited?

This will be a huge flop. People are getting wise to the BS that MS shovels.
Posted by qwerty75 (1164 comments )
Reply Link Flag
Yes- it will flop. Not the first time
Anyone remember Windows ME?
Posted by Hardrada (359 comments )
Link Flag
Most don't need vista ultimate
Only people who may need vista ultimate coule be developers/business users who wants to work with multimedia.

Most home users are fine with home premium if their machines support graphics!!! and the cost is couple of dollars more than xp professional edition. They should be fine with windows vista home if the graphics does not support premium edition.

However, most people would buy vista when they buy new machines!!!
Posted by Tanjore (322 comments )
Reply Link Flag
The current Market trend is pointing to Media Center PC's. People are tired of paying monthly for TIVO and DVR. Windows Ultimate Edition (with Media Center) takes care of all this. Plus none of you people are taking into account that these prices are ALL RETAIL PRICES. Windows XP Professional retails (full version) for $399.00. I currently as a OEM (PC Manufacturer) can sell the OEM Version for $140.00 Vista OEM prices have not been released. The estimated cost of Vista Ultimate Edition on a new PC is no more than XP Pro.
Posted by xfloaterx (7 comments )
Link Flag
Assuming microsoft delivers next OS in 5 yrs!!!
Assuming microsoft delivers next generation OS in 5 yrs!!

$20/yr for vista home upgrade is no big deal.

$40/yr for vista home premium upgrade is no big deal if you really want the functionality.

$54/yr for vista ultimate!!! coule be steep but $54/yr is not bad if you really need the functionality!!!

NOTE: Vista cost would make sense only if it truly provides good secure stable platform and users don't have to spend couple of hundred dollars to protect the machine from virus etc!!!

Who knows!!!
Posted by Tanjore (322 comments )
Reply Link Flag
time to switch to mac/linux
I would rather switch to Mac. and Linux. $299 + H/w cost is too much.
Posted by dennis_the_bug (42 comments )
Reply Link Flag
Please let me know when Mac / Linux becomes a viable gaming OS and I might consider it. Bootcamp / Wine does not count.
Posted by SeizeCTRL (1333 comments )
Link Flag
who would switch to a mac or lunix there suck
Posted by superman9956 (15 comments )
Link Flag
Re: Time to switch to Mac/Linux
I'd have to agree. I'm using a Mac right now and it's a great

If Microsoft is going to (continue to) up the price of software
that much, then you might as well get a decent system for the
combined hardware/software price, for example, a Mac Mini
with OS/X and OpenOffice. Grant it, it's not Microsoft Office, but
for most people, it'll get the job done.

Charles R. Whealton
Charles Whealton @
Posted by chuck_whealton (521 comments )
Link Flag
$399 - Is that in Yen?
I'd like to mark this whole article as offensive! That's pretty expensive for an o/s, and as most of you should know, most people will want Ultimate just like they need Professional, because it's the one with the most features. I can tell you as a developer, and as a business, that $399 is too expensive for an o/s and we will be sure to hold onto XP Pro for quite a while (probably until we decide to move to KDE/XWindows). With all that has been cut from Vista's features you'd think they would have lowered the price. I see Windows Update subscription services in the near future.
Posted by replaysMike (1 comment )
Reply Link Flag
All the home user will need is Home Premium. The Ultimate edition will have a bunch of stuff aimed at business users that home users don't need. (How many home users need to join a domain?)
Posted by Xalorous (24 comments )
Link Flag
Vista a Con
Why don't all you potential Vista using guys feel conned? I mean
6 versions of the same operating system depending on how
much you want to shell out?? - Come on, you've got to feel
ripped off. There is ONE current version of Mac OSX 'Tiger'. For
$129 you get the FULL version of OSX 'Tiger' (aka Vista Ultimate
- $399) or for $199 you get a 'family' pack which allows you to
install Tiger on up to 5 Macs. Jeez don't these MS leeches have
enough money already?
Posted by Europodboy (298 comments )
Reply Link Flag
Actually If you bought a mac in 01 or 02
then you payed more like 700 bucks... plus your hardware...
Posted by SystemsJunky (409 comments )
Link Flag
OSX costs!
You obviously have not paid for OS X 10.0.0 through all its versions to the current one. Nor have you put up with OS X 10.0 -> 10.2. Apple released what I'd call Alpha and Beta versions and charged us for it!

How much do Apple change for each 10.x release? and they've been doing it every year on average, never again will I give money to Apple.

As a PC (& sometime Amiga) user for 20years+, had a Mac conversion when OS X betas were kicking around, did the whole OS9 -> OSX 10.0.0 through to 10.4.2, then went back to Windows on XP SP2 and now running Vista RC1. I'll never return to Apple, they're way too expensive for my taste and strangely enough in the 18mths since switching back I've never a crash or a BSOD.

I've seen kernel panics in OSX (Dual 2ghz G5, collecting dust). YMMV.
Posted by jasmoto (3 comments )
Link Flag
windows vista
i am using windows vista beta 2(build 5384)this a great program as long as you are willing to grin and bear it,alot of software will not work,so you will have to wait for driver and software updates,i feel it is worth the is going to be worth every cent spent.just wait and be patient.
Posted by djps55 (6 comments )
Reply Link Flag
why not make it simple
Premium,basic, for home user, why not keep it simple, Just for home user with one package and an between ,price for Premium, Basic ,Vista. give the home user a brake. wishing Microsft all the
Posted by gairvine (1 comment )
Reply Link Flag
Windows Vista Media Center???
Does the home versiopn of Vista have a Media Center like XP Media Center 2005?
Posted by BigCyr (1 comment )
Reply Link Flag
Windows Media Center in Vista
Vista Ultimate Edition includes Windows Media Center.
Posted by xfloaterx (7 comments )
Link Flag
Two of them actually
Home Premium and Ultimate contain Media Center functionality. Though Ultimat is the only one which you can use media center while connected to a domain.
Means I won't be switching for my media center PC.
Posted by DrtyDogg (3084 comments )
Link Flag
Vista Pricing
Now come on all you PC users,
Highly priced by Microsoft, the abusers.
Let's all tell then to take it back,
Because we're all going to a MAC.
Really 359.00 is obscene, and I hope I can find a way to get Vista from a file share client.
I think 100-200 would be a fair price. But at 359, plus tax will make the price 400. More than my laptop cost.
Posted by perfrog (10 comments )
Reply Link Flag
i too think the same as this writer, selling it above $350 is really really absurd, i know it takes so much money to develope this but think again, at that price what happen if the pirated market is able to sell the same product at maybe $20 dollars, would anyone still be interested?
Shouldn't MS at least keep the price competitive against this after so much that has actually happen with MS Home/Office/Professional. I say keep it as low as possible. If the low & high is not wide, it will win the buyer to the genuine product.Lowering the price does not actually hurts MS at all,in actual fact, it helps people to trust them more. So please MS, it is up to you to look at a price when we compare with the pirated product. So this is the best way to stamp out piratcy.
Posted by yltanonly (2 comments )
Link Flag
Yeah, lets switch to Mac
So we can be force fed lame overpriced hardware and $129 a year for a service pack...

No Thanks..
Posted by SystemsJunky (409 comments )
Link Flag
Then Don't Upgrade!
You do not need to upgrade to Vista. Really, you can get by with whatever OS is currently on your laptop computer. Why bother upgrading to the highest priced alternative if you clearly didn't upgrade to the best laptop on the market? That's like having $5,000 worth of tires and rims on a 1992 Ford Escort.

Be realistic here and just don't upgrade.
Posted by zaznet (1138 comments )
Link Flag
Preinstalled Only
I don't care about the "boxed prices" of Vista, because I only buy (indirectly) preinstalled operating systems.

And no, I am not going to rush out and buy a new computer, just so I can run Vista. I will most likely wait until my 2002 computer dies.
Posted by john55440 (1020 comments )
Reply Link Flag
For 98/SE/ME users, a Mac PC probably costs less.
For Win 98/SE/ME users, a $575 Mac Mini would cost less, since
these users will need new hardware. A Mini would include new
hardware, a new OS with all the features of Vista, and a very nice
suite of applications and tools. Plus it could be 100% backward
compatible by running the old 98/SE/ME software license under
virtualization. After adding $159 for a Vista upgrade, a new Dell or
HP will be a more expensive option. If you go that route, don't
forget a video card capable of supporting Vista's new Aero GUI.
That means look for "Vista ideal", not just "Vista capable".
Posted by open-mind (1027 comments )
Reply Link Flag
New Computer Buying
>After adding $159 for a Vista upgrade, a new Dell or HP will be a more expensive option. If you go that route, don't forget a video card capable of supporting Vista's new Aero GUI. That means look for "Vista ideal", not just "Vista capable".<

If a person buys a "Christmas WinXP computer", Microsoft is going to have some kind of Vista coupon program, to reduce/eliminate the upgrade costs.

Apparently the Vista ideal you speak of is going to be called Vista Premium Ready by computer manufacturers.

<a class="jive-link-external" href="" target="_newWindow"></a>

As for me, I like my operating systems preinstalled. I wouldn't want to buy a new WinXP machine, and upgrade it to Vista. I would rather wait.
Posted by john55440 (1020 comments )
Link Flag
... if you ignore the cost of monitor and other peripherals and software
Yes, in that case, it would cost less.
Posted by cary1 (924 comments )
Link Flag
Mac doesn't need virtualization
It uses Intel processors. Install whatever lame MS OS you want on
there natively.
Posted by G5Man (13 comments )
Link Flag
Vista Pricing
Bill Gates must have forgotten his beginings when IBM wanted an operating system that they could package with their new system at a reasonable cost. At the CPM was almost the only game in town and had just came out with its new operating system CPM 86 but cost more than the average person could afford and then came Microsoft. IBM was creating a "Personal Computer" affordable to all. Will history repeat it's self
Posted by doctor_gizmo (1 comment )
Reply Link Flag
Australian Dollars
Can some one tell me how much it is going to be in Australia
Posted by dutchy5347 (1 comment )
Reply Link Flag
dollar conversion
suggest you just go to a conversion site, try

Posted by sanbill (1 comment )
Link Flag
is there a office 2007
i agree what is the price in australian dollars.
and is there an office 07 and whats so good about it if there is
Posted by mtarm1 (2 comments )
Link Flag
aussie dollars for vista
aprox: $520-Windows Vista Ultimate, $390-Windows Vista Business, $310-Windows Vista Home Premium, $260-Windows Vista Home Basic.

im not sure if its right or not, its based on curency excange rate, microsoft could change the price for us aussies(sucks to be us) lol but this should help 'mate' good luck dutchy5347
Posted by mtarm1 (2 comments )
Link Flag
Boxed Price vs OEM price
Win XP pro boxed price is $299
<a class="jive-link-external" href="" target="_newWindow"></a>

and OEM price for the same from Tigerdirect is $139
<a class="jive-link-external" href=";CatId=672" target="_newWindow">;CatId=672</a>

If same applies to Vista, it might cost much less than the prices published by MS.

Also, if you buy it preinstalled from vendors like Dell or HP, it will cost same as Windows XP and the overall price of the PC will be almost same as it is now
Posted by cary1 (924 comments )
Reply Link Flag
Yes but...
...there are a couple major differences between buying the OS from Microsoft versus buying it thru the OEM's as a pre-load. When you buy it direct from Microsoft, you'll buy the precise system that Microsoft engineered AND Microsoft's excellent tech support including replacing of OS disks for free if you loose your's. When you buy it via Dell, you'll buy the custom-engineered system with all the extra bloatware that Dell configures in order to destroy your system a day after you get it AND Dell's useless tech support including charging you the retail price of the OS a second time in case you loose their original disk (if it even CAME with a disk to begin with).
Posted by amy.licious (10 comments )
Link Flag
Liking fatless Windows
Microsoft should think about the the people in the world. 199 Dollar for the minimum operating system? Of cource this is not the street price. I think nobody is willing to pay more money than for XP because nobody really needs a 'new' Version of Windows.
Users have to pay for MS/INTEL errors like USB, they have to pay for bundled and inbuilt software like IE-Explorer. The SW becomes fatter and fatter like an Dinosaur. But there comes the time where dinosaurs died which I does not hope for Windows
Personnaly I do not have any problems with MS-OS, because I'm still mainly use ME and NT4. I'm working at a small company. Complex Network structures are not required and security issues like big companies we do not have. Vista/XP is used by us for testing and on Notebooks only. In 2009 we will think about working with Vista. All I need is to have internet access, writing documents and developing fatless hyper fast disk imaging software powercopy for all PC-based computers.
I hope MS-Software, MS-staff and shareholders will come back to the roots soon, because I came up with fatless DOS, liking fatless Windows too.
Posted by thokal (1 comment )
Reply Link Flag
I recently purchased a mac to see if I like it. it was $250 for a G4 from the college. It came with OS 10.1 so I went and got 10.4 (tiger). That was only $130.00 and I could be wrong but there is only one version.

At that price I will not be buying the new OS for my main Windows system because XP works fine and I don't see any reason to give myself added grief when I finally, after how many years now, got XP working without having to shut the system down or it locking up on me (too often).

I don't see many people buying it but I could be wrong. There are just so many more important things that $400.00 can buy.
Posted by killr_klown (3 comments )
Reply Link Flag
I do not need no stinking Vista!
Posted by NoMoreMS (10 comments )
Reply Link Flag
OEM or Open Source
I'm not big on Software packaging or Product manuals, so where is the OEM pricing? That being said, I'll stick with the copy of XP pro that I bought already for $190. Other than that I hope gaming publishers start working on the Linux platform games.
Posted by zaegyg (1 comment )
Reply Link Flag
Way too much!!!
Well lets see into the crystal Ball here....
The days of the $499 Dell is gone hard to sell a computer for $499 when the operating system cost $399, computer companies will charge way more for 2 reasons, first is the price of the new OS, and then the increase in hardware requird to run this monster. 2nd prediction if Microsoft thought piracy was a problem before go ahead and roll out a $400 OS and see what it looks like after that. If I was one of the linux types I would steady wearing out a keyboard trying to code in a really good replacement for Windows, a lot of people aren't going to pay that much for an operating system that will be full of bugs, security flaws, and need constant updates, not to mention that within a years time they will have to release a service pack if nothing else to stop the never ending downloads of defender's updates. Somewhere along the way Microsoft forgot something, all your marketing is an operating system, it is not an application, you really can't do anything with it, and stop and think that by the time you put $400 in an OS, another $400-600 in other software so you can do something besides update Windows Vista, your looking at over $1,000 in software, now throw in that high end graphics card so you can get Aero, 1-2gb of RAM, a 250gb hard drive, then of course you have to have a DVD burner, light scribe of course, your looking at $2500-3000 for a home computer with out the printer, etc all the things you enjoy now. seems like me that computer companies got together with Microsoft and found a way to prop up the sagging computer market, or maybe, just maybe they manage to put themselves all out of business! I have been one of the testers for Vista, it's slick, fun to use the 3d flip, but when all that wears off, it's no better then XP, no where near as good as Windows 2003, lacks any useable speed thanks to daring inovations like a popup that comes on to ask your permission to even open notepad, Nothing in Vista is new, and you can do the same with StyleXP, and XP sidebar and keep the speed and all the software you have now, and the computer you have now, and most importantly, you can keep your money in your pocket, not Bill's!!
Posted by DAKz (2 comments )
Reply Link Flag

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