∞ Apple should thank Microsoft for Windows 7 pricing

I don’t know what they were thinking, but Microsoft on Thursday announced pricing for the upcoming version of “Vista Fixed Edition,” also known as Windows 7. Windows 7It seems clear that Apple must have an insider working at Microsoft. Evidently this insider works in the pricing department, because the prices announced today only help Apple in its quest to increase market share.

First of all, you have to be a Vista users in order to upgrade to Windows 7 using the company’s special pricing options. That’s an easy way to cut down the number of people that can upgrade, nobody uses Vista. So, most people are left with the full purchase price.

Here is the upgrade and full pricing for Windows 7:

  • Home Premium: $119.99 upgrade; $199.99 full version
  • Professional: $199.99 upgrade; $299.99 full version
  • Ultimate: $219.99 upgrade; $319.99 full version

Now, let’s look at Apple’s Snow Leopard upgrade and full prices:

Snow Leopard: $29 (Leopard); $169 (Tiger, which includes iLife and iWork)

One version of the operating system, and for most people, a $29 upgrade. Compare that to the “I’ll screw you at every turn” upgrade pricing from Microsoft. Did Microsoft fall asleep the day Apple announced this? Do they think that people don’t notice the discrepancy in pricing options?

Snow Leopard Desktop

And what choice do Windows users have now? Well, Microsoft doesn’t sell Windows XP (and why would they, by most accounts it worked) and they can’t sell Vista because everyone hates it and wishes it would die a slow death in hell.

Microsoft knows that they have most users between a rock and a hard place. That means they can set the pricing at whatever levels they want. Even if they tried to do something nice for the users, they screw them with the pricing. It must be fun being a Windows user around upgrade time.

Here’s a thought Microsoft, how about releasing a low-cost version that isn’t crippled at all. One operating system. One price. Too Easy.

So, Windows 7 it is. Ah, but there is another option out there–Mac OS X Snow Leopard.

I’ve heard people say that Snow Leopard is nothing more than a maintenance release for Leopard. That’s just a big pile of crap. Besides moving many of its apps to 64-bit–including the Finder–Snow includes a lot of new features.

How about this as an example: Exchange support out of the box. Try that one Windows users. Apple built support for Microsoft Exchange Server 2007 right into Mac OS X Mail, Address Book and iCal. Microsoft makes Exchange and they don’t offer support out of the box, you need to buy Outlook to get that.

If there was ever a time for Windows users to consider a Mac, it’s now.

Update: According to Ars (and John in the forums) you can upgrade from Windows XP. Good luck making sense of it.