Microsoft selling new Windows at cut-rate price

Despite all the changes Microsoft is touting with the new version of Media Center, the biggest change may be one that the company barely mentions: the price drop.

Microsoft had priced the first two versions of Windows XP Media Center edition, targeted at consumers, higher than even its professional edition of Windows sold to businesses. This time, Microsoft has priced the software somewhere between Windows XP Home and Windows XP Pro, CNET News.com has learned. "There is a deliberate strategy to lower the price," said Tom Laemmel, a product manager in the Windows Client unit. "We want this to be taken seriously as a mainstream product. It is clearly the best OS for any room in the home."

In its previous versions, Windows XP Media Center Edition was a niche product that sold on about 1 million PCs, mostly high-end machines that appealed to enthusiasts who wanted to record TV shows onto their computer hard drives. Media Center is similar to other flavors of Windows, but it adds a separate interface for playing movies, pictures and music using a remote control. With the 2005 version launched on Tuesday, Microsoft has said it is aiming much more for the mainstream PC buyer. Chairman Bill Gates said the company hopes to see this version sell four or five times as much as the prior versions.

News source: C|Net News.com

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