Microsoft Sets Vista Pricing, Expands Tester Base
Microsoft today released the pricing for Windows Vista, about a week after online retailer Amazon.com disclosed the operating system's pricing on its Web site.
The company also expanded the tester base of Vista to about 5 million users as it begins gearing up for Windows Vista's widespread release, which is scheduled for early next year.
Microsoft's suggested retail pricing for Windows Vista is as follows: $399 for Windows Vista Ultimate, $299 for Windows Vista Business, $239 for Windows Vista Home Premium, and $199 for Windows Vista Home Basic.
Upgrades to Windows Vista from XP are $259 for Windows Vista Ultimate, $199 for Windows Vista Home Premium, and $99 for Windows Vista Home Basic.
The prices are the same as the ones listed on Amazon.com's Web site last week, except that the online retailer listed an upgrade for Vista Home Basic as $0.95 more. Amazon.com is already taking pre-orders for Vista, and lists on its Web site that the OS will be available on January 30, 2007. Microsoft has not given a firm date for Vista's release, but is targeting sometime in January for the OS's general release. The company plans to release Vista to business customers in November.
In a related blog item, PC World Associate Editor Danny Allen compares Vista's prices and features with those in Windows XP.
Vista Release Candidate 1 Available
Microsoft late last week made available Release Candidate 1 (RC1) of Windows Vista, which means that the OS is in its final testing phases. The release was initially made available to only about 20,000 users who are in Microsoft's TechBeta and Technology Adoption Program program, but today the company said that in the next few days it will expand that release to some 500,000 members of its Microsoft Developer Network and TechNet program (for developers and IT pros, respectively).
Microsoft said it will also make RC1 available to the more than 2 million members of the Windows Vista Customer Preview Program who received Beta 2, and will reopen the program to new testers. Additionally, Microsoft plans to distribute an estimated 2 million copies of RC1 on DVDs bundled with magazines. All told, some 5 million users worldwide will have access to RC1 as Windows Vista goes through its final testing, Microsoft officials said.
Feedback on RC1
Shanen Boettcher, Microsoft's general manager of Windows client product management, said the early feedback the company has received on RC1 has been positive. He said Microsoft will determine whether to make a second release candidate available based on tester feedback to RC1.
Windows XP had two release candidates before it was shipped to manufacturing. Analysts have said that if Windows Vista follows the same path, it will be a tight squeeze for Microsoft to get the OS out according to its current schedule.
Windows Vista's release has been delayed several times, and industry and financial analysts have said they think the release will slip even further into 2007. However, analysts today said that the release of RC1 and the Vista pricing announcement are positive signs that the company could be on track to release the OS on time.
Computerworld has the results of an initial test drive of this build of Windows.
PC World Senior Editor Yardena Arar contributed to this story.