When Microsoft announced the initial pricing details for Windows 7, along with plans for the E editions of the operating system for European Union markets, it appeared that European users were getting a lousy deal. Customers in EU markets could not access the upgrade editions of Windows 7, or actually perform upgrades from Windows Vista, and they had an amputated Windows client with Internet Explorer 8 stripped off. But this is no longer valid, with Windows 7 E version having been killed off before it was even born. Furthermore, Microsoft will continue to allow European users to buy full retail licenses of Windows 7 RTM at the same price as upgrade editions.
“For customers who have already pre-ordered the full version of Windows 7 E in the EU – either as part of special pre-order offers or otherwise – they will receive full versions of Windows 7 that include Internet Explorer 8. These customers, and any other customer who pre-orders Windows 7 before upgrade versions are available on September 1, will still be able to get upgrade pricing for Windows 7 full versions,” revealed Brandon LeBlanc, Windows communications manager on the Windows Client Communications Team. “Customers can also wait for September 1st, 2009 when they will have a choice of an upgrade or full version of Windows 7 at separate pricing. So essentially if you’re in Europe, you will have the product and pricing options available on a worldwide basis as of September 1st through the Microsoft Store and our retail partners.”
The discounts come as a consequence of Microsoft scrapping plans to offer Windows 7 E in Europe. The E flavor of the Windows client was born from the necessity to comply with antitrust legislation, and to conform with the conclusions of the European Commission that the bundle between Windows and Internet Explorer is illegal. Instead of the E version, Microsoft will offer the full Windows 7 in Europe but with a ballot screen that will allow end users to choose between the default browser they want to be running.
“Windows 7 retail boxes will be available in both Full and Upgrade versions via pre-orders through Microsoft online stores where available and our retail partners starting September 1st and at General Availability on October 22. We will, however, continue to make Windows 7 N versions available that does not include Windows Media Player,” LeBlanc stated.