Are Some Vista Users Getting Screwed on Windows 7?

Not all Microsoft customers are cheering the just-announced Windows 7 pricing that puts the cost of an upgrade at as little as $50.

Redmond is offering discounts on Windows 7 upgrades to some, but not all, Vista users. U.S. customers who pre-order a copy of Windows 7 Home Premium will pay just $49.99, and those who select the Professional version will pay $99.99.

But there’s no equivalent deal for Windows 7 Ultimate, the logical upgrade for Vista Ultimate users, who’ll have to shell out $219.99 for the top-of-the-line version of Win 7.

For Vista Ultimate users, Microsoft’s pricing plan is the ultimate insult. At Microsoft’s The Windows Blog, the Comments section today seethed with the wrath of unhappy Ultimate customers.

For instance, “Jim” griped:

“This is a load of crap! I bought VISTA ULTIMATE 2 years ago and have fought the problems since. I have tested 7 since it came out in beta and am not getting a reduced Price as sort of an I'M SORRY from Microsoft for buying Millenium #2 in Vista Ultimate. We hardcore MS buyers (not piraters) and testers should get a big discount on 7 Ultimage! But we don't even get early discount pricing?”

“Korn1699” posted a similar rant:

“I am VERY disappointed as others are that there isn't a discount for ultimate during that time period. I have FOUR machines that have Vista Ultimate, so now I am going to have to pay about $880 to upgrade them to the same level in 7...”

And “jbs221” wrote:

“I have Ultimate and don't I feel like a fool. I don't know what to do. They seem to have left us big fools in the lurch. OK, you paid way too much for Ultimate, now you get to pay way too much for Ultimate,,,AGAIN!”

Adding insult to injury is that fact that many Vista Ultimate users, like Jim above, haven’t been happy with the high-priced OS. Prior to the early-2007 launch of Vista Ultimate, Microsoft claimed the software would include "extras" such as "cutting-edge programs, innovative services, and unique publications" that users of less-pricey Vista versions couldn’t get. But critics later complained that Microsoft released those goodies too slowly and infrequently.

One analyst, Michael Cherry of Directions on Microsoft, even urged Microsoft to give Vista Ultimate users a free upgrade Windows 7 to compensate them for their troubles.

Apparently, Microsoft wasn’t listening.

I completely understand why Ultimate users feel wronged here. When you pay top price for a consumer product -- a luxury car, for instance -- you expect the best features, service, and support, not a slap in the face. Hopefully, Redmond will rethink its pricing strategy and cut Vista Ultimate users a break.

Go to jbertolucci.blogspot.com for links to Jeff Bertolucci’s PC World blog posts.

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