Microsoft claims it is not ripping off its customers in Europe by charging more for European versions Windows 7 than for those produced for the US market.
The company also said that pricing had been unaffected by the legal wranglings with the EU, however it does not explain why European pricing is higher.letter to the Financial Times, Bill Veghte, the senior vice president for the Windows business group, said "nothing about this [case] will mean higher prices for Windows 7 in Europe."
Veghte was responding to an FT story last Friday that noted that because Microsoft had unilaterally decided to strip Internet Explorer 8 (IE8) from Windows 7, users would need "a fuller version of the new software when they upgrade." The newspaper, however, also made it clear that Microsoft was selling that software, dubbed "Full" or "Full Packaged Product" (FPP) to differentiate it from editions labelled "Upgrade," at the lower prices of the latter.
Microsoft has said it will price the full editions of Windows 7E - the "E" stands for "Europe" - at the lower upgrade prices until at least 31 December, 2009. Windows 7E is part of Microsoft's campaign to head off European Union anti-trust regulators, who have charged the company with illegally tying Internet Explorer (IE) to Windows, from mandating even more drastic measures.
Microsoft is making the price concession on Windows 7 because of technical issues involving upgrades from Windows Vista. Microsoft will block customers in the EU from doing "in-place" upgrades, which would leave some version of IE on the machine. So it will not be selling "Upgrade" editions in the market, at least not when Windows 7 launches in late October.
Veghte explained the move in his statement. "We typically offer two Windows versions to retail customers: a full version for use on any computer and an upgrade version - at a lower price - that can only be used on computers that are already licensed for Windows," he said. "In light of recent changes we made to European versions of Window 7, we will not have an upgrade version available in Europe when we release the new operating system." Those Upgrade-labeled editions, however, are high-priced compared with the same versions offered to U.S. users. The "full" version of Windows Professional will cost EU users €285(£173), even though that edition will be priced at the "upgrade" amount. In other words, EU customers will pay twice the US price.