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The Ultimate Question Answered

On Sunday, I observed that Windows Vista Ultimate isn't much available on new PCs. There may be good reasons.

Not much has changed today, the first day people can actually buy Vista Ultimate preloaded on new PCs. By and large, major manufacturers and retailers are sticking to Windows Basic and Windows Vista Home Premium. Now why is that?

I asked that question to analysts and Microsoft executives yesterday during Microsoft's Vista partner launch, and I got some surprising answers.

Cost weighed in as a major consideration, along with driver compatibility and potential customers (Microsoft expects bigger initial retail box sales of Ultimate than PC preloads). All three factors are legitimate reasons, and all three are likely right. Together they raise questions about whether Microsoft's version strategy simply doesn't make sense.

Ultimate's ultimate pricing--$399 for full-version retail and $259 for an upgrade--is an obvious purchase barrier. Microsoft doesn't release OEM pricing, but Dell, Gateway and HP add-on pricing--$170, $160 and $120, respectively--gives some perspective. The add-on pricing is on top of what the customer already pays for Windows Vista Home Premium.

View: Full Article @ eWeek, Microsoft Watch

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