Windows 7 is getting closer to its October 22 launch date. With improved security, better compatibility, and a slick new look, the OS should please owners of both powerful and underpowered machines alike. Microsoft has already offered hot pre-order deals, but now it has announced its sweetest deal of them all.
Students with a valid student email address are eligible to get a copy of Windows 7 Home Premium or Professional, 32-bit or 64-bit (your choice, presumably some might pick the lighter Home Premium for netbooks) for a mere $30. And with one announcement, Microsoft has essentially matched Apple's OS price point for one of its most pivotal demographics -- students.
Apple beat Windows 7 to the market and has been loudly trumpeting that its Snow Leopard -- priced at $29 per license -- beats Windows 7 in prices. However, students in the U.S., U.K, Australia, Canada, France, Germany, Korea and Mexico will now have their pick between the two competitors at virtually identical prices.
With Snow Leopard, students will get several key improvements (virtually all of Apple's core software was fine-tuned and sped up), but the release falls somewhere between a full Windows OS release and a Windows Service Pack. For an equivalent price they can get Windows 7, a full OS release packing many features that have drawn rave reviews from early adopters. The deal is sweet for users of traditional PC hardware and Macs alike, as even Mac users can take advantage of it to equip their Boot Camp Macs with Windows 7 for gaming and Windows-favored activities.
The deal is found on the win741.com site, a recently launched site from Microsoft, which calls the offer "too sweet to pass up." The site proclaims, "For a limited time, eligible college students can get the sweetest deal on Windows 7 - for only $29.99 USD. That's less than most of your textbooks! Hurry -- offer ends January 3, 2010 and 12 a.m. CST."
One major appeal of the deal is that with Windows 7 and a netbook, students get about the most portable and affordable bundle possible for a fully functional computer.
The move seems a smart one, given that Apple does have Microsoft beat on standard prices, with a copy of Home Premium (upgrade) retailing for $120 and $200 for a Professional upgrade (versus $29 for Snow Leopard). With the price bar set nearly four times as high as Apple's, the pressure is on Microsoft to deliver a dynamite product -- which indications show it will.
Still, Snow Leopard's aggressive pricing has caused it to double the initial sales of its predecessor, Leopard, and quadruple the sales of Tiger. Apple has also been much more aggressive in targeting school children, with programs such as "Field Trip to the Apple Store" in the U.S. and Canada. Many schools continue to use Mac computers primarily. All of this bodes well for Apple's long term success. However, Microsoft is at last making a legitimate bid to seize this important demographic from Apple.