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Could Microsoft Give Away Windows For Free… And Make Lots Of Money?

There are (completely unsubstantiated and unfounded) rumors (and frankly, I wouldn’t believe it) that Microsoft is considering giving away Windows Vista Home Basic in Britain. The reason: Value Added Taxes and the exchange rate have made Vista so expensive that almost no one can afford it.

Microsoft would lose more money than it would gain selling Vista at such a high price, by losing customers entirely to rivals, so it would give away Home Basic (and keep being able to sell Office and other software to Brits), and Basic is so “basic” that most people will pay to upgrade it to Home Premium anyway. I can’t believe it, but it is a bold move, and could work better than stiffing customers with the current, awful prices.

Perhaps, in the future, Microsoft could release a free version of every Windows operating system, one that only ran basic software, Microsoft Office, developer tools, and Internet Explorer, and charged money for the regular operating system we all know and use? It would make it a hell of a lot harder for Linux to compete, by basically ceding the basic operating system market to Windows, and making competition only on advanced users (and making it harder for OpenOffice and Firefox to reach cheapskate users).

March 22nd, 2007 Posted by | General, Vista, Windows | 2 comments

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  1. Wouldn’t the exchange rate make it cheaper in UK, with 1 gbp ~= 2 usd.

    If they actually charged the same for the retail versions.

    A retail vendor said they only make 7 gbp on each copy sold, even though it’s much much more expensive than the USA version.

    Also due to the anti trust thing Microsoft have to change the same amount to OEMs all around the world, everyone who sells 1 million machines per year gets the same price.

    Comment by Mark Scholes | March 22, 2007

  2. Microsoft have overcharged UK consumers for years, so it’s no wonder that we are lining up to tell Bill where to stick his latest overpriced offering – and no, MS software isn’t cheaper in the UK, because Bill charges us almost twice what he charges American customers for the exact same product.

    His excuse before was the Exchange Rate was so different and that was making most of the price differential, but the current rates mean that even a complete moron can plainly see that excuse for what it is.

    Would I buy Vista – no. Would I take Vista Basic if free – no. So it really makes no difference if this story/rumour is true or not. As for continuing to stiff UK customers for Office, I’m sure MS will hope to do so… but that’s why God invented OpenOffice.

    Comment by Colin | March 22, 2007

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