High-End Vista Comes at a High Price

A glitch on the Microsoft Canada Web site has apparently let slip Microsoft's planned prices for Windows Vista, indicating the Redmond company intends to charge as much as $299 CDN for its top-of-the-line upgrade to Ultimate Edition, and $499 CDN if users wish to purchase the full version.

Canadian prices are typically higher than their American equivalents. Thus, it can be expected that Windows Vista pricing in the United States would be lower. However, it does show that Microsoft stands to make considerably more money if it can convince computer users that upgrading to higher-end versions is worthwhile.

Besides the Ultimate Edition, the site listed Windows Vista Business, the equivalent of Windows XP Professional, at $249 CDN for the upgrade and $379 CDN for the full version.

Windows Vista Home Premium, equivalent in functionality to Windows XP Media Center Edition, was priced at $199 and $299 CDN for upgrade and full version, respectively; and Windows VIsta Home Basic was listed at $129 CDN for the upgrade and $259 CDN for the full version.

To compare with current pricing, upgrade and full versions of Windows XP Home SP2 currently sell for $129 and $259 CDN respectively; and $259 and $429 for XP Professional SP2. If the price list is correct, it appears that for business users, upgrading to Vista could be cheaper, while in some cases the same cost or more expensive for consumers depending on their needs.

The pricing list has since disappeared from the Microsoft Canada site, and the company is not commenting on the matter. However, the accidental release did not stop several Microsoft watchers from opining on the company's planned price structure.

"Guess Microsoft execs weren't kidding when they talked about their plans to push Premium Vista SKUs (with premium price tags attached)," noted Microsoft pundit Mary Jo Foley wrote for Microsoft Watch on Monday.

Ed Bott, on the other hand, applauded Microsoft's moves to price Vista more strategically. "[If the prices are true], then it's mostly good news for Windows customers," he wrote on Microsoft Report. "There's no price increase for Home Basic ... Vista Business buyers will get a break with a small discount relative to XP Professional."

Windows Vista is expected to be released to manufacturing in November with consumer availability starting in January 2007, according to company statements.

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