Microsoft has just announced the pricing grid for its flagship operating system Windows 7 and it came without any major surprises although altogether we did see a slight reduction in the pricing.
However, Microsoft could learn a lot from the only other major software developer which sells shrink wrapped operating system, Apple, which is going to launch its next generation Mac OS X Snow Leopard in September.
And while we set aside philosophical questions and debates, we managed to find a few things that Apple could share with Microsoft when it comes to OS pricing.
(1) Price it low
The cheapest Microsoft Windows 7 Home Premium OS will cost $199.99, rising to $319.99 when ordering the Windows 7 Ultimate version. You can expect to pay only $129 for the latest Mac OS X (currently v10.5.6 Leopard). True, you could possibly get OEM versions of Windows 7 but Microsoft does not explicitly sell those and you won't find them in high street stores.
(2) Respect the Exchange rate
Apple is also very careful when it comes to pricing in the UK and in the US, the price of the OS X Leopard reflects the current exchange rate at $1.55 per pound compared to $1.66 for Windows 7 Home Premium.
(3) Simple structure
There's also the fact that Apple sells only one consumer version of its OS which makes it less confusing overall. It might be a bit tricky to explain whether the few extra features differentiating the Professional and the Ultimate version of Windows 7 might be worth $20.
(4) Have Family Bundles
Apple sells family versions of its operating system and special family packs, which will appeal to those upgrading. The Mac OS X v10.5.6 Leopard Family Pack for example cost only £126.
You will be able to install one copy of the OS on five different computers as long as (a) they are for non commercial usage and (b) they are located in the same households. The actual price per OS is £25.20 including delivery. Going Microsoft's way could have cost you significantly more.
Apple also have a Mac Box set which offers the possibility to install iLife ’09, featuring the new iPhoto ’09, iMovie ’09, GarageBand ’09, iWeb ’09, and iDVD plus iWork ’09, Apple’s productivity suite for home and office including Pages ’09, Numbers ’09, and Keynote ’09 on up to five computers. That's worth only £199 or less than £40 per computer and Microsoft doesn't have a similar offer.
Microsoft does have an Ultimate steal package which offers Microsoft Office Ultimate 2007 and Windows Vista Ultimate for around £80 for both but only if you have an email that contains ".ac".