Bits from Bill: Windows 7 may come with a Steep Price


By Bill Pytlovany

Windows 7 may come with a Steep Price

So far most of my predictions about Windows 7 have been right on the money. Microsoft has scaled back the number of versions. Computer manufactures confirm they’ll have Windows7 installed on machines in time for Christmas. Unfortunately, the one thing I may have been wrong about was the price. I expected the price of Windows to come down but I was too optimist. The best thing going for any “I’m a PC” campaign is price yet Microsoft seems to think if Apple can gouge customers they can too.

Did anyone tell Microsoft we’re in an economic crisis? Brisk PC sales could really help the economy but if the cost of the OS is over 25% of the total PC price we’re in trouble. Worse yet, the high cost of Windows could impact the single most requested add-on to any purchase which is Microsoft Office.


This post is excerpted with Bill P’s permission from his blog

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47 thoughts on “Bits from Bill: Windows 7 may come with a Steep Price”

  1. I guess computers are still in the "Model-T" stage of development.
    My laest purchase a Lenovo (never again) i7. Had to increase the Ram and upgrade the video card bought from ZOTAC (never gain) which stops at random. And of course we all know how bad Vista was. Win7 a little better. Every other OS is crap so you have to buy the next version coming? Stimulates the economy I guess. Leading edge is expensive…… Most of my older video games will not play on Win7. I've been told Win7 Professional will emulate WinXP. I'll get the old Pentium4 machine dusted off and use that. Thanks folks for the roller coaster rides. KG

  2. I switched to windows 7 on advice of a techie friend. I made the switch with no contra indications mentioned on the program to check to see if I could update to windows 7. Now, my computer is becoming a large paperweight. Apparently the intel chipset on my motherboard which runs the graphics, sound, networking, et al, is no longer supported. Now I cannot see the screen properly, cannot run my programs, cannot even switch back to windows xp. A clean install of XP also failed to get my computer operational. Without the cash t purchase a newer machine, I am now completely fucked. Thanks Microsoft.

    My computer is a netvista 8306-PEU from IBM.
    (Maybe I should say WAS!)

  3. I have been using Win 7 RC1 for a while now. I installed it as a new install over a previously installed XP pro. Dell Inspiron 9100 32 bit Laptop w/ 2gb ram. Early on, it ran fine and did not crash, lock up, or do a lot of the squirrely things Vista Ultimate does, which I have on another laptop, and a tower, one a 32 bit install, the other a 64 bit install. My other Dell Latitude 560 is still running XP Pro.

    Now however, as I loaded more programs, Office ultimate, all the other strange creatures from MS that get loaded with any of those packages, Adobe, and a few print drivers, it slowed down the computer, and now it locks up when activity ceases for a few minutes. Sometimes it recovers, other times I have to power cycle the machine because the keyboard is also inoperative.

    I will probably reinstall the XP pro once this RC1 goes mainstream. The price now, will be 1 franklin for basic, and two of them for the full version. Upgrade price of course. It does find and install newly installed periferals correctly and seems to identify the equipment with little trouble.

    I really don’t see Win 7 as any major improvement as an OS to anything MS has done in the past. I have been using MS products since MSDOS 1.1

    Maybe going back to command line control is where we should go. We all have gotten so used to our machines doing everything for us that we forget, humans still write this convoluted stuff. When was the last time you ever got two people to ever agree completely on anything?

    Given the myriad number of machines, equipment and software it is supposed to control, we are lucky we have advanced this far. In the meantime, RC1 will end up on the also ran pile just like all the rest of the MS latest and greatest must haves.

    Honestly, it seems that eventually all OS systems will be server based in an offsite capacity along with all the associated programs, and all people will be able to do is pay for an access right to use them but the main program will never be owned and will be served to you from the internet like Groove and One Note. That eliminates piracy and and other issues like multiple installs on various computers, etc.

    Either way the computer industry is evolving as well and the need for faster smaller and more efficient systems will demand a newer approach to computing and resource management, which is all an OS really is. Maybe we really are heading back to the old terminal days where we all just log into big brother and we get a shell, like a mac, unix, or linux system.

    Oh did you say you still wanted your individuality? You want to have complete control over your own system without Big Brother looking on. You still believe in the Easter bunny and the Great Pumkin too right? Wait till Carbonite expands its services and other offsite storage companies gain a bigger foothold on the market.

    Does anyone still remember TRON? A concept whose time has come. Bill Gates has little to do with MS anymore. It is run by a bunch of diabolical backroom geek squad hit men trying to rebuild life in their image, like the Wierd Science movie. They know you will pay whatever they ask, because no one has not done so without consequences. Apple sure has no trouble overcharging for their teeny tiny toys. People still buy them. It’s our fault of course, we all are computer junkies and simply cannot get enough of them no matter what form or format they come in. My wife and her friend like the hot pink one. In addition to the new cobalt red one she has now.

    I still have an affinity for my old 386 33mhz tower with its 10mb hdd. It runs Win ME. It really never crashed very much either, even if it sounds like a 747 taking off when it runs. Any time I want more power and speed, I go down and crank that old girl up, and watch her take her sweet time to do everything. After about thirty minutes, I begin to appreciate how far we have come since 1997.

    Happy computing everyone:)

  4. Want a solution to Windows 7 costly upgrade? Go MAC.. the upgrade was only 29 bucks, and only one version is needed. I have always been a PC, until this year..i’ve had enough of the crashes low performance on high end laptops and costly upgrades.. My MAC Book out performes anything I’ve had or seen out there… Apple need i say more????

  5. i have had vista since the the start of 2007,never had a blip,just slow starting up.i have ordered w7 premium from pcworld £45,it seems cheap to me

  6. paul damaskinos

    when i first installed vista i had a few troubles with creative audio drivers,but didn’t really like the OS.have been using win7 from beta to RC2.each time i upgraded all of my programs and files of were in there original place,no trouble with hardware installs.much better than xp.and as for the statement of having to learn a new operating system every couple of years is just ridiculous there all based on windows and are basically the had upgrade discs and full OS discs were hundreds of dollars dearer.but i used to do new full installs with the upgrade disc,whats that about.

  7. MS is running out of money to support the tech staff. This is why they are buliding windows 7 it just more money they want other wise we will not have OS running? I agree that MS is rip off.

  8. Yes, TJ does have some good points. In general, there are some very good opinions here this month. After decades of the same old MS tactics of higher prices and needing a major hardware upgrade every few years I have had enough. Not to mention clogging up Internet bandwidth with broadcast messages simply to police MS product liscences while calling it a “security upgrade”. The only “security” I can see there is “financial security” and piece of mind for MS. A bit of MS self preservation that tends to hurt us all performance-wise.

    One thing TJ forgot to mention: MS has a lot of Bloat code. Undocumented Games buried inside of office products. Undocumented system commands that don’t seem to do anything… At least no one has ever figured out how to implement them.

    Perhaps after time you will agree. It seems that You just about need a “Master’s Degree” for EACH release of Microsoft OS’es. Not to mention the hassle of having to call MS tech support merely because you swapped out some of your hardware (or simply because you want to clean up your system and do a fresh install). Then you find that your previous activation code no longer works! I recently lost a whole day on the phone because of a SIMPLE hardware upgrade. Yes MAC is attractive but expensive compared to Linux. And both are built upon Unix technology.

    Rather than Learn a new MS OS every few years, My time now seems better spent dealing with the steep learning curve of Linux once-and-for-all. I think it will prove to be well worth the effort in the long run.

    If you like MS. I wish you well with it. You have to admit and admire… MS keeps a great number of people employed and has become quite the money machine! Admirable marketing at the very least. Perhaps MS will win me back in the future. But not at $300 for a single OS (not unless it’s a full blown Server-OS with Active Directory for $300)! Linux now has the upper hand by far.

  9. I agree with TJ – with basic computer skills one can make Vista a speed demon in comparison with earlier versions of Windows. Do some research and get rid of what you do not need. It is the Ultimate (the version I use). Get the memory right and use readyboost. You will not be dissapointed if you set it up right. Get out of the dark ages.

  10. I agree with TJ. With basic knowledge one an make Vista out-perform any previous version of Windows. Get your computer right with memory and processor and it is a speed demom with more security than any previous version. I had trouble at first but with a little study it is EXCELLENT! I use Ultimate for the extra security amd features.

  11. It Looks like I’m not the only one looking for a new Platform.
    I have been an MS customer since DOS 3-3 (Intermediate to Advanced user). I hold full licenses for several MS OS products. I have become increasingly disappointed with MS products, prices, installation, performance and customer relations.

    I am transitioning to Linux and Firefox. I am using both right now on a 5 year old box and they are working great!

    I am looking forward to the release of “Optimize for Linux” !

  12. Early adopters always pay a higher price. Stop crying Linux because you know the average user can’t use Linux.

    Most of us yelling about the price are the RC users who want to pay $100 for W7 so that we don’t have to go back to XP or whatever.

    Pay or wait, but quit the silly nerd griping.

    Nothing is free.

  13. Without question, the richest company on earth does it again. Bring out a new version of Windows, tempt everyone with the beta version to iron out the bugs then charge them exorbitant prices for the privilege. What gets me most is the fact that these guys can then push computer manufacturers into a tight corner by demanding they install the latest Windows version onto their new PC’s. It is a monopoly that has bugged me since I purchased my first computer. Why should the public be so dictated to on choice of OS? XP has everything going for it and still remains the people’s favourite. Why didn’t Microsoft exploit this and continue to improve XP rather than launch a totally new system that demanded more resources and denied us of the software and hardware drivers that worked so well before? I am now seriously looking into the other alternative … Linux! We are all aware of the economic downturn and I think it’s time we looked at how much Microsft has cost us through the world’s institutions and governments … we pay these prices through our taxes whilst Microsoft smugly sits back and enjoys its continued prosperity!

  14. With all the problems that I and many of us had experienced with the initial launch of Win Vista, I think I will be waiting a while to jump into Win7. Although I can’t wait to check it out, I will Let them work out the bugs first and let the software drivers get released before I switch. Until then XP is the best thing MS got.

  15. What I find fascinating in all this is that you can get a family version of MacOS for $199 and install it on up to 5 computers in your home and if you replace a hard drive you don’t have to call Apple.

    Additionally, I noticed my upgrade from Visa Business to Vista Ultimate was the same price as a single copy of MacOS Leopard… and people keep saying Apple is expensive… not for the OS.

    I think Windows 7 will give Apple even better competition and help to keep them on their toes but the different editions of Windows just seem like different levels of crippling to me.


  16. I’m using Windows 7 right now and there are small differences between Vista and this OS, I just can’t see a huge dollar amount for Windows 7. So in a nutshell; Microsoft keep it REAL!!!!

  17. I run an old Mac desktop, a modern Mac laptop, an XP desktop and a Win7 laptop. The Macs are my workhorses and I use the Win7 only to explore its newness. The XP is my bulk printing and scanning depot. I have no interest in buying a final version of Win7. I am sold on Macs but I am forced to use Windows for teaching seniors. There are lots of choices out there and I see little value in supporting one choice and belittling all others. Do what feels good!

  18. I have been using MS vista business edition for quite some time. I never had any of the compatibility problems that I hear people talking about all the time. This may be because I turn off stuff I don’t use, try to keep my system free of crap and keep stuff organized. Seems most crap that happens on people’s PCs is the result of user-error, bad habits and lack of very basic skills. I go nuts on other people computers, crap everywhere, totally scattered brained. When an error happens they just throw in the towel and complain. You can easily turn off the extra stuff you don’t need in windows to make it faster and simple upgrades do this too, also you can use Tweakers that really help in making windows conform to your prefs. And if you have a problem look it up and use common sense for once. All you have to do is give a little effort geez. Remember if you have poor computer skills my friend, you can easily learn them over the internet. Windows 7 RC by the way is awesome, very efficient and comfortable, easier to find stuff. How do you know if it suck or will suck if you haven’t used it??? (Keep in mind it is in beta so it does have a few hiccup once in a while, I have had only two).
    I like Macs too, very clean, but they are very limited in the hardware and software department. I love overclocking and customizing my rig and you can’t do that with Macs really, customizing stuff makes it mine. I am intrigued by Linux though; I’ll give it a whack.
    So remember…
    -give an effort for once, the answer maybe real simple.
    -When it comes to OS’s people sometimes you can get your cake and eat it too and sometimes you can’t, that’s just the way it is.

    Alright that enough ranting for me…

  19. I see No dif between Vista & RC 7 !
    At the least, the same file structure! One thinks they are loading on Drv C:, but try to find the File. First, on must un-hide, but one must find First, and Search can not find file so it can be un-hidden!
    I am able to have RC 7 on an independent machine,
    so wll play w/ tl it runs out!
    Back to my XP machines!

  20. Get off MS’s back. They provide brilliant software, it just takes a little bit of intelligenge to use it. Open Office is good, but not a patch on Office 2007. I have had 95,98,ME,XP, Vista and now 7. Not a glitch. Hats off Microsoft.

  21. Well as someone who needs to upgrade 3 machines from Vista Ultimate(because its given me so many heartaches – despite preferring it to XP)I hope they see reason and give those of us who have effectively struggled with an unfinished Beta for the last years a break. I also hope that as a UK resident that don’t continue their practice of making us the victims of “rip of Britian”!

  22. Last year when Microsoft threatened to drop XP support, I purchased 4 copies of XP Pro. Reason: I friend of mine who runs a Computer repair business in our town mentioned that when he needs to upgrade and purchases a computer that had Vista OS, he starts it up, lets it run to the point he can insert the XP Pro disc and restarts. He said that none of the Vista machines he has purchased have ever seen the light as operating with the Vista OS. Cool huh??

  23. MS must be nuts! I am still running XP with NO problems and will not pay more for any operating system. I have a tough time with a Blackberry and I like being able to use something that is familiar to me.

    I, like so many others here, am going to buy a MAC next time. I’m still angry over MS Bob and Windows ME…

  24. I would think that the people who contribute here might have something worthwhile to say rather than venting. I have used Vista on three computers for both business and personal use and have had no problems at all. I hate XP after using Vista. Except for booting up it is faster and far more secure. I tried Windows 7 Beta for a week and liked it a lot. It boots very quickly and looks much like Vista. I think most of the changes are in the background. I didn’t stay with it as some third party software would not work with it.
    As for pricing, you all have a point. Microsoft’s policies on pricng are classic monopoly. Who knows how the company arrives at a price? Maybe the head guys sit around in an office and write down figures and throw them in a hat. They then pick the highest one and voila! That being said, we use the hell out of Office. Open Office is no substitute. As a lawyer I use multiple programs that require Windows.
    As the Frnech say, c’est la vie.

  25. Yes you need Windows if you play Windows games and/or have a need for a Windows program for which there is no Linux equivalent.

    We manage nicely by dual booting Windows with LinuxMint. So far (more than two years), the only time we boot into Windows is when we want to play Windows games. Linux is no harder to use than MS Windows. I have installed it on many seniors (two of them are 90+) computers and they all have found it simple to use.

  26. I don’t know about the rest of the world but in Australia the sticker price for XP Pro was $625 when it was released, Vista Ultimate was around the same. MS hasn’t had a reasonably priced OS since Win 98……which incidentally leaped from $160 to $425 when XP was released because people were choosing 98 over XP based on price. Microsoft worries about piracy…..the best anti-piracy measure is reasonable pricing.

    I have an XP Pro machine, a Vista 64 machine and a Win7 RC1 64 bit machine. XP does everything I need. Vista does it as well with more bling and more problems, Win 7 does it all as well, better than Vista (quicker and more user friendly)but from a vanilla user’s point of view (and 90% of users are vanilla users) the main change is bling. Only the techies are interested in the nut and bolts improvements……90% of users are into user friendliness above all. I’m picking the majority of Win 7 users will be people who get it on a new PC. Since Microsoft make most of their sales through manufacturers, they have no reason to give the retail public a reasonable price.

  27. Merlin,

    I built a quad system for Vista with 2 GB of memory in December 2007, and after a half a dozen installs and continually struggling with Vista in May 2007 I downloaded a burned 3 64-bit Linux operating systems to CD. I liked one, Mepis and I found the learning curve to be very small compared to trials and tribulations of Vista.

    For me and many other Linux operating system user, Linux is a great stable operating system that does not require much maintenance. I have a low powered computer that runs 24/7 and ran for almost a year before I shut it down to increase the internal hard drive size… All I did was clone the 20 gig hard drive to 160 GB drive, Using a CD. I then increase the home partition remove the 20 GB drive and booted the system with the new Hard Drive…

    The last year I always Look for software that runs on all three operating systems, Linux, Mac, and Microsoft. I currently use Gimp, Inkscape, Scribus, Open Office, that i know will run on any computer at hand…

    Hardware, yes I have become selective, if they do not support Linux, I look at another manufacture…

    Yes, I run a anti-virus and scan every e-mail I download into my kmail client. I do not want to send a virus along to my Microsoft using friends.

    I have toyed with Windows7 but would never use it as my main operating system. I would never give up my freedom, to customize my computer and make it perform as the hardware is designed…

    I understand Microsoft is in the market borrowing money for the first time in its 36 year history, and would not be surprised to see a premium price on Windows7.

    If anyone is in the market for a new computer, I would be pushing the retailer for a Windows7 upgrade certificate or would hold off on the new purchase until the upgrades become available… I can see no reason to spend another $200 or $400 to upgrade to the next version of Microsoft’s operating system later or early next year.

    How is the price and ease of transfer going to be XP to Windows7? Cost is going to be a shocker, and I think maybe Microsoft is going to shove all that learning, support off to vendors. The acer, dell, gateway, HP, compaq, emachine, sony, toshiba, IBM, leveno, fujitsu, sharp, susuki and other vendors I have omitted.

    In the meantime I will be watching this release from the sidelines as I happly continue to use my 64-bit KDE Linux operating system.


  28. I see on the news today that China has a new OS, they built their own and I’m betting it’s secure since their primary concern and use is their military, maybe they’ll sell it to us, although it would probably have 400 back doors, so they could steal everything.
    Maybe it’s time the Linux community got together and wrote one does it all version, for ordinary people, I mean you can run windows type programs on a Mac so it shouldn’t be that hard to do, should it? That would either force the third party guys to write the Linux option and force MS to either finally get their act together or just go away forever.

  29. Correction on my last post: It’s the Windows 7 Home Starter edition, not the Basic Edition (and why is there a version more basic than the basic edition? Geez…)

  30. Something that disturbs me (reading Bill’s blog), is that the Windows 7 home basic originally had a 3 app limit on it’s compatibility. Even assuming it means 3 apps running at the same time, the fact is, they did away with it. Why does that disturb me? Because it sounds like Microsoft is simply programming specific limitations (unnecessary ones) into the OS to gouge people into buying the more expensive version to undo the limitation. This isn’t a matter of “better security/features/functions requiring a higher price”, it IS out and out gouging by purposely limiting features that are *already built in*. It’s like all the versions are exactly the same, just that cheaper versions have more features locked than the more expensive ones. If they just put out maybe two versions (a home version and a business/corporate version) and balanced the price better, it’d be a lot fairer than this feature locked bullhonkery.

  31. If Microsoft 7 is going to be a bit expensive….is Microsoft going to commensate the Vista User since it is in such disarray?
    I will stay with XP Pro….I have also recommended all of my customers to stay away from Vista and Microsoft 7 until I am reassured that they have eliminated any unknown problems that arose with the release of Vista…and probably Microsoft 7…their track record has not been too impressive over the past 10 years!!!

  32. Ellen Brantley

    Forget Microsoft Office and its high cost. Everyone should be tuned into the free Open Office that will do everything MS Office will do. It should have been included with “best free software”. I’m finally getting the hang of Vista although I still keep my handy XP computer for important things. Will the upgrade to Windows 7 be expensive too?

  33. Obviously, the public’s reluctance to jump into Vista has led MS to use a Trojan Horse approach with 7 – get as many people as possible hooked on the beta, then spring the price on them after 6-12 months when they’re too involved with it to back out. How many half-baked operating systems, updates and service packs from MS do people have to go through before they realize that it’s never going to get better – due to the Tower-of-Babel foundation of MS and their need to maintain backward compatibility with that base? No one at MS even knows how the things operate any more – and most of the “utilities” are the same pieces of crap they were 15 years ago or they’ve been supplemented by new POCs that are different, but with their own serious deficiencies. Such are the privileges and punishments of monopoly.

  34. Just bought a MacBook Aluminum, so I could not care less. For after 11 years of hassles with Windows OS;I have HAD IT!

  35. If Windows 7 exceeds XP’s cost by more then 10% I’ll either skip it like I did Vista or I’ll switch to Linux.

    Linux is becoming more attractive all the time.

  36. I’m not too surprised about Microsoft’s priceing. I have XP and I’m going to stick with it. When the time comes to buy a new PC, I’ll just get a Mac and be done with it.

  37. I am new to the Mac family & its great. MS has lost me as a customer for life. Mac may still have some minor draw backs but for reliablity, security & quality, it beats Vista & most likely Win 7 hands down. I still use my XP becuase it works well & I like it. Rick is right in recomending people to buy a Mac rather than put up with MS & their crappy products & politics.

  38. Linux is still pretty much in its infancy but I’m already on the bandwagon. The day Microsoft started treating me like a pirate was the day I knew my days running Windows were numbered. The *only* reason I keep Windows around is to run Quicken and Turbo Tax, and I’ll be using my crusty old version of Windows XP to do that. Meanwhile, everything else I do will be on Linux.

    As for games, if I was that much of a gamer, I’d buy a game machine (Wii, Play Station, etc.). Why pay the Microsoft tax just to play games? Every company has their day in the sun, and Microsoft thinks it can thumb its nose at its customers forever. Think again. Linux still has lots of rough spots and learning it can be a hassle, but it’s free. The applications you run with it are free. Given that most people probably spend 95% of their time in front of a PC surfing the Web or using E-mail, Linux is a perfect, FREE, alternative. On the other hand, if you think Microsoft needs your $$$ more than you do, they’re only too glad to take it.

  39. I have both an XP machine and a Vista OS and I prefer the XP like a lot of people. For my uses no need to go beyond XP. I regret making the step up to Vista and I am sure I would feel the same about Windows 777 “no jack pot here” OS

    What I don’t get about Windows VS Apple is, how in the world does apple still defy all attempts to create a clone machine? After all the law suits around the world against Microsoft because they have a strangle hold on us you would think that someone would finally say Apple monopoly no more. No one says a word, ever…


  40. Rick Kirchoff Says:
    May 29th, 2009 at 8:20 am
    Why must we buy Win7?

    Simple answer to that question: better security, better networking speeds, just plain old faster speeds doing common tasks, etc.

    Windows XP is a nearly 12 year old OS…. it’s time to switch to something new that supports the newer ‘bling’.

    I do agree with the article writer however saying that Windows 7 is overpriced, but that is mainly because Windows 7 has NO competition on the market for PC in actuality.

    Robert Humfeld Says:
    May 29th, 2009 at 6:22 am
    I have been using Linux it’s cheap, FREE!! Why use anything else?

    Let’s see: doesn’t support games that I wish to play, doesn’t support DX10, doesn’t support the Windows programs that I wish to run, etc. etc. etc.

    Linux is an also-ran operating system, and until they support everything that Windows does with NO techie bullshit needed….. Linux is NOT going to be a good thing for the normal user (I am nowhere NEAR a normal user considering that I fix computers for part of my living).
    It’s time to stop with the Lintard comments, and realize that Linux still has too many ‘gotchas’ with it to put on a regular computer for anyone who is going to wish to game or run Windows programs on Linux because the Linux versions aren’t good enough yet.

  41. Why must we buy Win7? Xp will still be supported thru 2014 and it has few if any problems as compared to the likes of vista and windows7. With the economy still on the downswing, I am not surprised that Microsoft is still trying to bully people into buying their latest junk. Microsoft must think money grows on trees or comes by magically at the snap of fingers. I own a computer repair business and will continue to tell my customers to stay with XP. Lately I have been suggesting to my customers, friends, and relatives that Mac’s are the OS of the future and buying one should be their next computer purchase. Replace Windows…

  42. soo how much are we looking at if vista is like 70 and xp 120 how much for 7 ??

    and still no swanky name not even microosoft 2010 ? or somthing lol
    anyway os’s shuldnt be this price its likea captive audience thing we cant escape . no wonder the best of us try to do it with torrents they make us want to.

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