Microsoft (NSDQ:MSFT) Friday revealed what it will charge Windows 7 customers to upgrade to more feature-rich versions through its Windows Anytime Upgrade program and also shared long awaited pricing details on its Windows 7 Family Pack.
In a blog post, Brandon LeBlanc, a communications manager on the Windows Client Communications Team, described scenarios in which it would make sense for users to upgrade. For example, customers that buy Windows 7 Starter edition on a netbook might find that they're using it more than they expected and realize the benefits of moving up, he said.
Netbook customers can upgrade to Windows 7 Home Premium for $79.99, which would give them access to features such as Aero Peek, expanded Windows Taskbar functionality, desktop themes and remote streaming, according to LeBlanc.
Although Microsoft says all versions of Windows 7 will run well on netbooks, Windows 7 Starter is seen as the version that most OEMs will embrace because it's also the cheapest. Microsoft recently removed an earlier planned limitation on Windows 7 Starter that would prevent more than three applications from running at the same time.
Customers running Windows 7 Home Premium can upgrade to Windows 7 Professional for $89.99, a move that's necessary in order to connect a PC to a domain and to use XP Mode, the virtualization backward-compatibility fix for running Windows XP applications within Windows 7. The upgrade to Windows 7 Ultimate is $139.99 and adds Bitlocker encryption and broader language support, LeBlanc said.
Microsoft will start selling Windows 7 through retail on Oct. 22, and customers that choose this route will get an upgrade key that allows them to choose from the three Windows 7 upgrade options.
Also launching Oct. 22 is the three-license Windows 7 Family Pack that Microsoft finally confirmed last week after weeks of rumors. Windows 7 Family Pack will be priced at $149.99 in the U.S. Microsoft claims that represents a cost savings in excess of $200 for the three Windows 7 licenses.
Microsoft also offered a family pack deal with Windows Vista but waited until just before Vista's launch to start publicizing the deal, and only offered it to customers that bought Windows Vista Ultimate through retail. This time, however, Microsoft will only sell Windows 7 Home Premium and Windows 7 Professional through retail.