Analyst: Windows 7 is Still Too Expensive

The big news last week was Microsoft announcing the retail pricing of Windows 7. Check out our previous coverage for the pricing details as well as the limited offer of upgrades at less than half price.

We asked you last week what you thought of Windows 7 pricing, and your responses were varied. Understandably, for those who build their own systems, the OEM pricing is most relevant. Others feel that it's too expensive – a sentiment shared by an analyst at the NPD Group.

NPD Group VP of industry analysis Stephen Baker wrote in the company blog last week with his thoughts on Microsoft’s pricing structure. He praised the (mostly) free upgrade program for PCs purchased on or after June 26, 2009, which solves many buying decisions for those who need new computers for back to school, as Windows 7 won’t be out until October 22, 2009.

Baker was less enthusiastic about the retail pricing of Windows 7, however, saying, "Besides the fact that $119 is a price point that fits nowhere in these economic times, it is still way too much for the software. … It is in Microsoft’s best interests to erase all vestiges of Vista from consumers' homes, and by making the upgrade expensive … Microsoft is creating a large disincentive for consumers to move to a far superior platform with a better user experience."

The NPD executive was also puzzled and displeased that Microsoft isn't offering a multiple user license package. He compared it to Apple’s upcoming Snow Leopard OS X software upgrade, which will sell in September for $29 for a single user license and $49 for a family pack that includes five licenses. Baker posed that in times when families have multiple computers in the home, a family pack similar to Apple’s offering is far more consumer-friendly.

What do you think? Even if Microsoft doesn’t change the eventual retail prices for Windows 7, would you be more inclined to upgrade your entire household if such a family pack were offered?

Marcus Yam
Marcus Yam served as Tom's Hardware News Director during 2008-2014. He entered tech media in the late 90s and fondly remembers the days when an overclocked Celeron 300A and Voodoo2 SLI comprised a gaming rig with the ultimate street cred.
  • ryokinshin
    Windows 7 at $50 would make this full circle, the best thing Microsoft has ever done.
  • saifallofjmr
    I wouldn't mind if if the prices were on Windows XP edition levels. Those were good deals imo.
  • Vettedude
    People drink too much Apple Kool-Aide. The pricing is fine with me. If you can't afford to upgrade, don't! I know I am gonna get on PC up to Win7, but I'm keeping one with Vista. It really is a great OS. I can't believe that their is still this much Vista hate out there.
    if it was at 50 for home it would make a lot of people happy
  • kojakk
    I'm disappointed that 7 Ultimate doesn't have a pre-order discount. I purchased Vista Ultimate less than 6 months ago, and while I'd really like to upgrade to 7 I don't want to have to do a full install if I downgrade to Professional, and I'm definitely not spending another $200 for 7 Ultimate.
  • viometrix
    i have been on windows vista since alpha...they runied what couldve been a great os...the alpha was perfect...then microsoft added the for vista being great, it is now even though still a resource hog....but people forget the many many months of constant bluescreens we endured at first, even on vista designed hardware.

    so yes micrsoft should sell windows 7 at a fair price for the economy and as a way to say im sorry for messing with you all with something worse than windows far as a family pack, never would happen in my home...i buy one copy and call it in if i need to...i have 5 computers in my home.... 3 of wich will run windows 7...the same copy... leave one as vista/ xp.... the other is my linux box....

    but again after all the money people spent on vista...that should be considered into the price if they want everyone to upgrade.....
  • thejerk
    I would release two versions, like XP : Home and Professional.

    I'd make Home $99 and Professional $199, and allow up to 4 activations, each. If you only have two computers at home, you already know at least two other people who want an upgrade. You could even charge those people the $20 or $40 and make your money back. Think about it, you could actually do something positive, and reduce piracy... even if just a little bit.
  • mikepaul
    Apple sells the hardware too, so a smaller profit on the software is OK. Comparing to Microsoft's position is less than useful.

    I'm getting one discounted Professional upgrade, and then someday if XP stops running on my old Compaq I'll figure out if it's worth trying to upgrade...
  • thejerk
    I suppose I was using the new math. I meant the $25 or $50, respectively, above.
  • sublifer
    $50 for a retail box edition (not the upgrade edition) would be nice. If they really want to cut piracy and dominate the market, that's how you'd do it. They should create an add-on software store similar to the iTunes app-store and try to make back some money there... at least that way it would be optional. Most people wouldn't even mind paying $0.99 - 5.99 for a piece of cheap software, they could even sell calculator and MS paint this way instead of including all the little freebie apps.