Microsoft: New Ways for Consumers to Get Windows Vista

Microsoft has detailed three new methods for customers looking to buy, upgrade or license multiple copies of Windows Vista, the new operating system that will be available worldwide on Jan. 30. Windows Anytime Upgrade, Windows Vista Family Discount and Windows Marketplace will provide customers with greater flexibility in obtaining the new operating system and will ensure they have the edition of Windows Vista that matches their needs.

Windows Anytime Upgrade is a new option that allows customers to conveniently upgrade their existing edition of Windows Vista to a higher-grade edition by way of an online transaction. For example, if a Windows Vista Home Premium or Windows Vista Business user decides he or she wants more capability perhaps to join his home PCs to secure domains at the office, or to experience the multimedia capabilities of Windows Vista on his work laptop Windows Anytime Upgrade makes the process of moving to Windows Vista Ultimate expedient and affordable. To use Windows Anytime Upgrade, a customer simply clicks on the Windows Anytime Upgrade option in the Start menu, selects the desired upgrade edition, purchases it online to secure a new digital key, and then follows the on-screen instructions to complete the upgrade.

Within Windows Anytime Upgrade, customers will be able to obtain detailed feature-by-feature information on the different Windows Vista editions, so that they can make an informed decision on whether an upgrade is right for them. The integrated desktop and e-commerce experience allows customers, with one click, to go from the Windows desktop to an e-commerce shopping cart containing the upgrade path they have selected.

The business model for Windows Anytime Upgrade is unique in the industry in that selected original equipment manufacturers and retail partners will be able to offer Windows Anytime Upgrade as online merchants, via a new e-commerce infrastructure developed by Microsoft. For the first time, both retailers and OEMs can ensure that their customers have the option to directly upgrade the version of Windows on their PC even after their initial purchase.

The manufacturer's suggested retail prices to upgrade to more premium editions of Windows Vista are as follows: Home Basic to Home Premium $79, Home Basic to Ultimate $199, Home Premium to Ultimate $159 and Business to Ultimate $139. Windows Anytime Upgrade will coincide with the general availability of Windows Vista in the United States, Canada, Europe and Japan on Jan. 30.

In another first, Microsoft will make Windows Vista and the 2007 Microsoft Office release available for direct download via Windows Marketplace, the largest online destination for buying software that runs on Windows. Starting Jan. 30 and working with retail partners, Windows Marketplace will offer the following upgrade editions of Windows Vista and full versions of the 2007 Microsoft Office release at suggested retail prices:
Windows Vista Business;
Windows Vista Home Basic;
Windows Vista Home Premium;
Windows Vista Ultimate;
Microsoft Office Home and Student 2007;
Microsoft Office Professional 2007;
Microsoft Office Standard 2007.

Windows Vista editions offered through Windows Marketplace are available in English only, in either 32-bit or 64-bit versions. Windows Marketplace visitors also can find a wide variety of Windows-compatible hardware and software, including products carrying the Certified for Windows Vista logo, which are tested to ensure superior reliability and quality when running on Windows Vista.

Windows Marketplace makes it fast and easy to download large programs such as Windows Vista through its digital locker technology. Digital locker combines the immediacy of downloaded software with the security features of owning physical media like a DVD it uses innovative security technology to store purchased software and license keys, efficiently resumes downloads if they are interrupted, and manages the overall installation process.

To make it easier for households with multiple PCs to make the move to Windows Vista, Microsoft is launching a limited-time offer for customers who buy retail copies of Windows Vista Ultimate. From Jan. 30 through June 30, the Windows Vista Family Discount will allow North American customers to license two additional copies of Windows Vista Home Premium for use on other PCs in the home at the reduced price of $49.99 each. Before completing the order online, customers will need to enter one valid full or upgrade Windows Vista Ultimate key from their retail boxed product. After eligibility is verified online, the customer can purchase licenses to install Windows Vista Home Premium on one or two additional Windows-based computers. The Windows Vista Family Discount is available only in the U.S. and Canada.

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