Is Windows getting more expensive?

Is Windows getting cheaper or more expensive? The short answer is easy: neither. Roughly speaking, the Microsoft product sells for the same price it has had for years. The full answer is more complicated. There are all sorts of factors that go into one's sense of whether the leading operating system "feels" more pricey or less expensive--the cost of other PC components and what gets bundled into the operating system are just a couple of them.

Microsoft General Manger Brad Brooks argues that Windows is a bargain, noting that it keeps getting more features for the same price. "If you break down the cost of the software over the life of the PC, it works out to be less than how much you'd spend on milk for your family over that same period of time," Brooks said.

Now that Windows Vista has been on store shelves for about a month, it makes sense to take stock of how it stacks up from a value perspective. On the side that makes it feel cheaper, there is more in Windows than ever. Built into Vista are several types of programs that have, until now, cost extra. It has antispyware, voice recognition software included in the box, and other programs, such as Virtual PC, are available as free downloads.

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