Microsoft plans to extend the availability of the Family Pack edition of Windows 7 come the official launch of the operating system, scheduled for October 22nd, 2009. Windows 7 Home Premium Family Pack will no longer be limited to the United States and Canada. In fact, the Redmond company confirmed plans to offer the special three Home Premium SKU bundle on no less than eight new markets. Microsoft’s new initiative is focused in particular on European consumers, which, following the premature death of the E flavor of Windows 7, can be allowed access to the entire line-up of Windows 7 editions.
“I can now tell you of several more countries that will have a chance to take advantage of this great deal: the UK, Ireland, Germany, France, Switzerland, Austria, the Netherlands and Sweden. This will also be a limited offer, but is just one more way that our customers can save on Windows 7,” explained Brandon LeBlanc, Windows communications manager on the Windows Client Communications Team. “So what changed to make this possible? Basically, the fact that we are now able to have an upgrade version of Windows 7 available at launch.”
On August 24th, 2009, Microsoft announced that scrapping the E version of the latest Windows client in favor of a browser screen ballot for end users would allow it to provide both upgrade and full editions of Windows 7, in addition to the N variants of the OS to European consumers. The browser screen ballot is designed to make Windows 7 compliant with EU antitrust regulations. At the start of 2009 the European Commission concluded that the bundle between Windows and Internet Explorer broke antitrust regulations. Microsoft’s initial response was to the E version of Windows Vista’s successor, basically Windows 7 with IE8 stripped off entirely, but had a change of heart and opted to offer end users running the OS a chance to choose their default browser by offering a number of alternatives including from Mozilla, Google and Opera.
European customers will have access to Windows 7 upgrade and full retail editions just as users across the Atlantic, but also to the Family Pack. The special package allows Windows 7 Home Premium to be installed on as many as three different PCs. Microsoft informed that via the Family Pack users in the US would be able to buy three Windows 7 Home Premium licenses for just $149.99. Prices for Europe have not been announced.
“On July 24th, 2009 – we announced a new proposal to the European Commission address competition concerns regarding the Windows OS and Internet Explorer web browser,” LeBlanc added. “Under this new proposal, customers in Europe who buy a new Windows PC with Internet Explorer set as their default browser would be shown a “ballot screen.” Through this ballot screen, people can easily download and install the browser of their choice from the web. As the result of our new proposal, as announced on July 31, we will no longer offer E versions of Windows 7 in retail, OEM or other channels. European Economic Community countries will have the same version of Windows 7 as the rest of the world.”