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Microsoft Offers Holiday Gifts

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The company’s delayed release of the Vista operating system and the Office 2007 productivity suite likely lost OEM PC makers some considerable holiday sales, so Microsoft is trying to salvage the season for them by offering discounted upgrades for their two forthcoming products.

Microsoft Offers Holiday Gifts
Will You Find Vista Under Your Tree?

A new operating system gains sales as buyers acquire new PCs with a copy of the OS pre-installed. It’s a practice that has been referred to as a “Windows tax” on each machine. That has earned Microsoft billions in revenue over the years of its existence.

Everyone benefits from a new OS release, particularly around the holiday gift buying season. PC makers felt as though Microsoft had left reindeer dung in their stockings in delaying the Vista operating system’s consumer release to January 2007. The move may have a very negative impact on PC sales, not a good thing in the cutthroat razor-thin margin world for that market.

To try and salve the situation, Microsoft announced it would offer buyers of a new, Vista-capable PC an Express Upgrade program. The self-described low cost upgrade provides the buyer with a path to Vista, and to Office 2007 if Office 2003 arrives pre-installed on the machine.

Those who buy a Windows XP Media Center Edition 2005 will have an offer to upgrade to Vista Home Premium. On the business side, upgrades from Windows XP Professional, Windows XP Tablet PC Edition and Windows XP Professional x64 Edition to Windows Vista Business and Windows Vista Business 64, will be offered.

Mary Jo Foley noted at ZDNet some other details about the offer from Microsoft:

So who’s in? “OEMs such as Acer, Dell, Fujitsu, Gateway, Hewlett-Packard, Lenovo, Sony, Toshiba and many others around the world are participating,” a Microsoft spokeswoman said.

What’s the deal? There’s no one, universal discount that will be available to all consumers.

“The OEM program details will be determined by the specific OEM,” the spokeswoman said. “The details of Microsoft’s arrangement with OEMs are always confidential.”


The Express Upgrade plan will run from October 26, 2006 to March 15, 2007.


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David Utter is a staff writer for WebProNews covering technology and business.

Microsoft Offers Holiday Gifts
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