Microsoft is going to offer its big guns (Vista/Office) via download shortly. That by itself is no big deal, no discounts for doing that.
It will also allow people to buy these programs via download (sorry, no discount) or upgrade a copy of Vista for an additional fee. In one sense that’s good and may save a few some money, but on the other hand, if there weren’t so many versions, fewer people would find the need to upgrade.
The one potentially interesting item is what MS is calling the Windows Vista Family Discount
What is it? Straight from the horse’s mouth (emphasis ours):
Additionally, this is a “buy a gold-plated banana, get two oranges at 50% off” offer. A lot of people are going to want either three bananas or three oranges, not some mix. We might also point out that illegal immigration is bad enough in North America without the world flocking to our shores just to take advantage of this deal. 🙂
If this leaves you muttering “Earth to Redmond,” let’s not even get into the Microsoft Windows Vista Ultimate UPGRADE Limited Numbered Signature Edition “signed” by Bill Gates (I am not making this up.)
How To Do This Right
Personally, this offer leaves me more than underwhelmed. I feel like I’m being dragged kicking and screaming to put Vista on brand-new machines, I don’t have the slightest desire to upgrade existing boxes any time soon, if ever, since I’ll have to upgrade at least memory to do so. Better to worry about Vista when I replace the machine.
Nonetheless, the idea of digital downloads and bringing OS license packs to the consumer world is an idea whose time has come. However, that day won’t seriously come until consumers get some real benefit from it, and that means a real discount.
No, I’m not suggesting selling OS downloads for a dollar, but retailers aren’t selling these things out of the goodness of their hearts, and it does cost some money to create, package and ship the OS boxes. Just to give a ballpark estimate, the media alone (no license) for a few versions of Vista costs $28.
If MS offered digital downloads at, say, $25 less than the standard price, no gimmicks, you’d get plenty of people happy to download without having tumbleweed blow through the OS aisle of the consumer stores, and if MS wanted to offer an extra discount if you bought two or three or five at a time, so much the better.
But let’s not push our luck, the first would be simple enough to do since they’re going to be offered anyway.
Even the Linux folks ought to like this idea, if only because it gives them a different MS-bashing song to sing to give the rest of us a break.
Since everybody lies about their motives anyway, the way we ought to promote this is not to say “We want to save money,” but rather, “We want to save the Earth!”
Say MS doesn’t care about the earth or the environment and wants to cut down forests to print manuals and box plus waste fuel to make unnecessary plastics and just generally promote a global griddle and . . . well, you get the idea. Seems to work well enough elsewhere, give Al something else to talk about, too. 🙂
Save the Earth (and shhh, shhhh, save money). That ought to be a winning campaign. 🙂