Dell: Windows 7 More Expensive Than Vista, XP
Can Microsoft really afford to raise prices in a down economy? That’s the question facing the software giant as it prepares to launch Windows 7 later this year. According to remarks attributed to a Dell marketing executive, Microsoft’s planned Windows 7 prices are generally higher than price points for Windows Vista and Windows XP releases.
Hey, The VAR Guy is all for free enterprise. Microsoft certainly should sell Windows 7 at prices that the market is willing to pay. And yes, software companies — closed source, open source, whatever source — deserve to seek profits from their hard work.
But, um: A pricing faux pas is the last thing Microsoft needs amid Windows 7’s launch. Surely, lots of folks still feel burned after paying for Windows Vista upgrades that didn’t perform well on low-end PCs. And the IT channel is increasingly open to Windows alternatives — hence Synnex’s decision to introduce a range of open source applications to the distributor’s 15,000 resellers. (Check out the Open Source Channel Alliance for more info.)
The Pricing Debate
The Windows 7 pricing debate started (or accelerated…) when Darrel Ward, director of product management for Dell’s business client product group, told CNet:
“If there’s one thing that may influence adoption, make things slower or cause customers to pause, it’s that generally the ASPs (average selling price) of the [Windows 7] operating systems are higher than they were for Vista and XP. In tough economic times, I think it’s naive to believe that you can increase your prices on average and then still see a strong swell than if you held prices flat or even lowered them. I can tell you that the licensing tiers at retail are more expensive than they were for Vista.”
Hmmm. Ward is either raising a critical issue or trying to negotiate better Windows 7 pricing for Dell — or both.
Either way, if consumers and businesses consider Windows 7 expensive it could open the door of opportunity slightly wider to the usual suspects: Apple and the Linux crowd, especially Linux running on NetBooks, The VAR Guy believes.
The VAR Guy has dispatched an email to Microsoft for comment. Our resident blogger will let you know what he hears.