Windows 7 Starter Rumored at $200... Really?

Microsoft has yet to even hint at pricing for its upcoming Windows 7, but websites are now reporting details citing anonymous sources.

We saw the first report from German site Windows Secrets, which started off by placing a $199.95 price tag on Windows 7 Starter. The site also listed Home Basic at $259.95; Professional at $299.95; and Ultimate at $319.95. Shortly after, Ars Technica repeated the exact same information, though did cite that it did not come from a trusted source.

We’re still not sure of the pricing, but all four price levels do match up against what the four versions of Windows Vista are listed at on Microsoft’s comparison website -- so it’s possible that Microsoft is keeping the same tiers.

What is somewhat curious is that Windows 7 Starter could be nearly $200. This version of Windows will be quite limited with only being allowed to run three applications at a time, lower screen resolutions, no live thumbnail previews and limited processor support. Its purpose is for low-cost PCs and netbooks -- but with those systems already costing as little as $300, one has to wonder how a $200 OS will fit into the bill of materials.

The other prices, however, for Windows 7 Home Premium, Professional and Ultimate all seem plausible and we wouldn’t be surprised to see the rumored prices stick. It’s the comparatively high price of the Starter SKU that has us scratching our heads.

See here for Microsoft's reasoning behind having six different editions of Windows 7.

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.
  • This is the retail versions, correct? I thought they would be that expensive anyway. OEM will be cheaper otherwise.
  • I thought retail versions usually cost that much anyway? OEM will be cheaper.
  • kamel5547
    Who cares about starter at $200? It could be a thousand and it would make no difference. Every story I've read has stated it is exclusively OEM bound so the "list" price is pointless (well I'm sure it will surface in third world countries but under a whole new pricing scheme). OEM pricing is negotiated and is always below list.... (but lets not mention that in the article, otherwise you'd have to title it "Windows 7 Prices To Be Same As Vista" with little shock value).
  • chaohsiangchen
    johndoe7762I thought retail versions usually cost that much anyway? OEM will be cheaper.
    If you plan to install on one computer and use that version on that particular computer until it has no value at all 10 years later, than, yes, OEM version is for you.

    If you're the enthusiast who build computers for fun, and, therefore, swap mobo every 6 months, then you'd better pay for retail version.

    I already have my mobo "burnt" once, and M$ gave me another activation for replacement mobo. That's something you have to take into account when purchasing M$ products.
  • IronRyan21
    Lame, Lame, Lame
  • gwolfman
    too expensive! BOO!
  • fuser
    "Someone" told you that the starter price for an OS that isn't coming out this year is going to cost $200 and you decided to write a story about it. LOL
  • aethm
    Well.. it looks like I won't be buying windows 7 then. It's a fine product but judging from the beta I doubt I will get much out of it that Vista isn't already giving me. I have 4 computers and will not shell out $1000 for an OS. I'll get the OEM versions eventually when I upgrade my equipment.
    As for the enthusiast who is worried about loosing his activation code...
    Just get the cracked version. I'm not advocating piracy, but after several calls to microsoft to re-activate my windows XP system years ago. I've decided it's easier to just bypass the process altogether.
  • Judguh
    How could starter edition be so... overly priced? If they could see Vista Home Basic for $89... granted, it didn't start out at that price either...
  • I hope Win7 will be customizable to a Win2000/98 look!
    I absolutely loathe having a slower system (less responsive) due to too many graphical changes.
    Even my desktop background is plain black, in order to save memory.
    The inability to view live thumbnails is plain stupid!
    I think the option should be there to enable or disable as one likes, though one should be able to disable all the icons for say adobe reader, or txt files.
    That's taking up memory and system speed!
    I rather have a set of 20 custom icons, than having 100's of icons for every program,and every program installed only adds to the load.
    Netbooks should respond quick!
    I don't think pricing Win7 starters $200 is right, if it does less than XP.