Redmond (WA) - While retail employees were busy stocking shelves and setting up displays during the early hours of the morning, some customers were already purchasing their copies of Windows Vista and Office 2007 without leaving their computer chair, as the two new applications have joined Xbox 360 and Zune content in the expanding world of digital downloads, with Microsoft offering the OS and business software through the Windows Marketplace for the first time.
Windowsmarketplace.com is now plastered with promotional images for Windows Vista, with some space also reserved for the new Office suite. Just a couple clicks gets Vista or Office into a digital shopping cart, while the marketplace automatically checks to see if the user qualifies for the upgrade price. Users need a Windows Live ID to purchase any content from the marketplace, which includes a Hotmail address, Passport account, MSN Messenger name, or any other MSN-based account that is tied to an e-mail address.
The software is delivered by Circuit City, one of Microsoft's preferred retail partners. Once the customer completes the purchase, a registration key is provided, and a download link will immediately appear, offering the complete version of the downloaded application. The pricing is the same as their respective retail versions; however users in most states do no need to pay sales tax.
In case of a problem with downloading, and to install the number of licenses available, the applications are stored in the user's "digital locker", which has download links for all the software purchased through the Windows Marketplace and applicable registration keys. Alternatively, for those who don't need the software right away, they can also have a retail boxed version shipped out.
The online marketplace site also provides general information about Vista and the new Office suite, including interactive demos. Additionally, there is a new software section stocked with games, music, and productivity software that are Vista certified.
Microsoft launches Windows Vista