Redmond (WA) - Microsoft announced today that it will allow consumers to purchase, upgrade, or add additional licenses of Windows Vista online, marking the first time the software giant has turned to digital distribution for one of its operating systems.
On January 30, Microsoft will add the four main versions of Vista to its digital Windows Marketplace online store, where customers will be able to purchase the software and then download it immediately. Pricing will be the same as the suggested retail price.
Retail boxed versions of the operating system will also be available at thousands of stores across the country on the 30th, and will undoubtedly make up the majority of Vista sales. But it is clear at this time that Microsoft will be trying to make higher-end version of Vista more enticing to consumers.
Vista, as with all Microsoft operating systems, comes in several different versions, wildly ranging in price. With the addition of Vista products in the Windows Marketplace, users will be able to upgrade their version of Vista to a more expensive one directly from their computer.
A new option will be added to the Start menu for Vista, called "Windows Anytime Upgrade." When a user clicks on it, he or she will go through a series of on-screen instructions to upgrade to a better version. For example, an upgrade from Vista Home Basic to Home Premium will cost $79, or to Ultimate for $199. Upgrading directly from Home Premium to Ultimate will be priced at $159.
Also, consumers will be able to go to the Windows Marketplace to license additional copies of Vista, intended for people who have a home business or a large family with several computers. Instead of purchasing multiple copies of the software, they can just add a license to the existing software for $50 each.
Microsoft has set suggested prices for Vista at $199 for Home Basic, $239 for Home Premium, $299 for Business and $399 for Ultimate.