Windows Vista Upgrade Prices Downgraded

Microsoft sells the vast majority of its Windows Vista operating systems pre-installed on new machines. In a bid to expand the customer base of Vista users to include people still using the XP OS, plus new adopters like those that build their own PCs and need to purchase an OS at retail, Microsoft has announced a fairly steep price reduction in various versions of Vista.

The price cuts vary by market but in general will range from 20 to 40 percent. In the U.S., an upgrade from earlier versions of Windows to Vista Home Premium will cost $130, compared with the current $160. A full version of the top-end Vista Ultimate edition will sell for $320, down from $400.

The new prices will take effect with the launch of Vista Service Pack 1 (SP1), a set of fixes and updates expected soon, though Brad Brooks, the newly minted corporate vice president in charge of global marketing of Windows to consumers, would not specify a date.

After a year with the Premium and Ultimate editions in the market and a series of test promotions that the company conducted in December and January, the lower prices are driving sales.

"It's been a positive revenue thing for us," Brooks said Thursday.

Microsoft has garnered a lot of press about Vista, much of it bad, mostly due to the prodigious resources needed to run it and compatibility issues with existing software -- including some of their own. It hasn't really hurt sales all that much. Microsoft reports that Vista has sold 100 million copies.