Microsoft reminds us that Windows is f*cking expensive

Posted on Sunday, June 28, 2009 by Erlik

Microsoft has finally released the pricing structure for Windows 7. The good news is that the new version of Windows will be a bit cheaper than the equivalent version of Windows Vista. The bad news is that since I am now used to receiving Ubuntu for free this made me realize that a Windows 7 license is in fact f*cking expensive!

The boxed edition of Windows cost as much as a computer.

Here in Europe a full version of Windows home premium would cost €199 (about $280). You can actually purchase a cheap Linux netbook for the same price! Yes, a boxed Edition of Windows can actually cost as much as a full netbook, that's how expensive it is. If you live in the US you will get some relief though, as your license will only cost $199.

The full business version of Windows will retail for €309 (about $400) the price of an entry level desktop. Who in their right mind will purchase Windows 7 at these prices in a recession, even if you can declare it as a business expense? Not many people!


MS seems to have realized that and will be offering a lot of rebates to get Windows 7 started. First there will be a limited time pre-order offer where you can purchase a Windows 7 upgrade for €49 or $49 in the US. This is much less expensive than the full retail price, but unfortunately this offer is only available in the US for now. A few select European countries like France and the UK should benefit from the same offer later this summer, but this will certainly not be available to everyone. Another good point is that European consumers should be able to pick up a full copy of Windows 7 without IE for the price of an upgrade, or about €119 ($150).

Still, this raises a lot of questions for the technology enthusiasts that wants to build his own machine and run Windows 7: should we accept to pay such high prices just for an operating system? Should we accept to pay for an OS before it is even released to be able to purchase it at a reasonable price? Does Windows 7 really delivers 119€ worth of extra value compared to it's predecessor and Linux? I do not think so.

A shifting market for operating systems

The problems is that although Windows 7 is about 10% cheaper than Windows Vista, the average selling price of a PC has fallen much more than that between the release date of Vista and now. This is partially due to the rise of netbooks, nettops and other cheap mini PCs but also because not many users buy expensive high-end PCs anymore. In most families it is more convenient to purchase a netbook for each member of the family and one cheap desktop to handle heavier tasks than to purchase one shared uber-powerful notebook. If a household of four where everyone has a PC or netbook want to upgrade all of the household's computers to Windows 7 that's a bill of $476 in the US, or €476 (around $600) in Europe! In short, the average family needs to purchase more Windows licenses than 5 years ago but expects to pay less per license. The operating system is becoming a commodity where price does matter much more than advanced functionality.

Bad for small PC builders

Microsoft obviously does not want to acknowledge this trend. This puts small independent PC builders in a bad spot too: many of these can not obtain large volume discounts on OEM Windows licenses like the big manufactures do. From the information I could gather large manufactures can usually get Windows XP for $25 on netbooks and Windows Home premium for around $80. Small PC builders and enthusiasts have to pay the full price of a Vista OEM license ($119). As the price of Windows becomes a much greater part of a PC's cost their products will become less and less competitive. Before builders could solve the problem by selling computers without an OS, but if the retail version of Windows is perceived as an expensive part of a new PC this may not look attractive to computer buyers anymore. This could result in a PC market dominated by a handful of big OEMs, a rather bad situation for consumers.

Linux to the rescue

There is a simple solution for PC builders however: Linux. With the shift to online applications most users only need a web browser and a few productivity application on the average PC. Families only need to buy one Windows machine to install games and the legacy applications that require Windows. Netbooks, nettops and cheap PCs that are used for surfing and playing music or video should work perfectly with the free Linux operating system.

Home users can purchase the boxed edition of Ubuntu for less than $20, and this includes phone support to help users get started with Linux. This is 1/10 th of the $199 that the boxed version of Windows home premium will cost stateside. At this price it becomes an interesting alternative to the purchase of a Windows 7 upgrade. Even the OSX upgrade has been announced at $29, or 1/4 th of the price of a Windows upgrade, and Apple is not known for being cheap. The current price structure for Windows 7 upgrades and retail versions clearly put Windows in the "expensive extras" category for me. I do hope that Microsoft will sell OEM licenses of Windows 7 at a more reasonable price, or soon Windows will be perceived as a luxury rather than a necessity.

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41 Responses to "Microsoft reminds us that Windows is f*cking expensive":

Anonymous says:

In the title of your article, there is no reason whatsoever to drop the F-bomb. I consider that to be very vulgar, uncouth and unprofessional.

Anonymous says:

Lighten up Francis. He self-censored the F-bomb.

Zona de Slumbergod says:

I have no problem with the title. If you don't like it don't read it. This is a blog not a formal print publication. F-words are not offensive to most young people in my country unless they are deliberately intended as an insult.

To the blogger: after switching to Linux a few years ago I just laugh when I see the ridiculous pricing on commercial products. I haven't spend a cent of software or operating systems since installing linux. I don't even have pirated software now.

Jim says:

No one "buys" an OS these days. It comes pre-installed on your computer, and the manufacturers get it fairly cheaply. I noticed that the difference between a machine running Vista and a machine running Ubuntu was only $40...not exactly a huge savings.

Anonymous says:

Good thing linux, being free and all can play all those games people like to play on windows. Linux has its place, but for the average home, it isn't worth it. Free =/= dealing with lousy communities trying to get help with a wireless card and video driver that may or may not work. I value my time at roughly $40 to $50 an hour. So in 4 hours of trying to figure out what's wrong with my linux install, I could have popped in a windows 7 disk, installed, and been doing what I want to do. You get what you pay for. (and mind you, I do use redhat at work, but on laptops, it sucks)

Anonymous says:

"So in 4 hours of trying to figure out what's wrong with my linux install, I could have popped in a windows 7 disk, installed, and been doing what I want to do. You get what you pay for."

Well, since I don't have kids and I don't play videogames on my computer, I don't have a need for the latest video card, multi-processor machine. I only recently upgraded the to a dual-processor CPU & motherboard and kept everything else. Much of the hardware I have never had Vista drivers (including a wireless board), yet the Linux distro I chose (OpenSuSE 11.1) installed easily, recognizing the dual-cpu, the USB ports, on-board audio, SATA & PATA drives, and yes, even the wireless card.
So while I can't speak for the previous person's problems, I didn't see any in my install of Linux. The whole process took about 2 1/2 hours, most of which was the system doing all the updates. But that included updates to all of the productivity programs as well as the basic OS. I've spent a LOT more time than that getting similar functionality in a Windows PC. Without trying to get wireless working. Or anti-virus software. Or removing "crapware."
I saved both money AND time. As I always say, "You DON'T always 'get what you pay for.'" For me, that pretty well describes Windows.

Anonymous says:

Install Linux, it just works. And It works on everything. And even if you spend a little time getting it going it runs for years without any issues. I can't count the number of hours I've spent installing windows, drivers, antivirus software, office, and any other basic computer tool that doesn't come with windows, ... Just to do it all over again in a few months when the windows box blows up. An hour or two setting up linux is well worth my time compared to the repeated monthly maintenance required to run windows, not to mention the horrible cost issue. Happy Linux user for 8 years,...My 2 cents.

mzilikazi says:

As the blog mentions this is bad news for smaller pc builders that can't get volume discounts. Also worthy of note is that many of us simply do not care about gaming on a PC.

And for those of you that think Windows 'just works' I say bah! As someone that charges Windows users to fix what should not be broken to begin with (yes even on new OEM installs) I beg to differ.

So the next time you hear that Windows 'just works' and that Macs never crash you know you're talking to liars!

donkey says:

"So in 4 hours of trying to figure out what's wrong with my linux install, I could have popped in a windows 7 disk, installed, and been doing what I want to do."

Good luck with that. Windows (XP/Vista/7 etc) out-of-the-box supports hardly any hardware so make sure you've already got all your drivers handy to load in....

Linux, on the other hand, supports most of a machines hardware even before it's installed (eg a LiveCD) - so you can use it while it's actually installing.

You can be up and running with linux (including most commonly used application functions) in less time than a 'pre-installed' Vista will take to get ready to be used.

Where do you want to go today?

Erlik says:

It is true that you sometimes have to spend some time to sort things out with Linux, but it's the same with Windows really. Often when someone buys a new Windows PC he first has to pay someone to remove all the junk the the OEM loaded.

And for the f-word, it is because I find these prices really outrageous. I know that quite a few people will be convinced to pay for the upgrade just to get rid of Vista. I think that Microsoft is really abusing it's customers by making them pay so much for what is in fact a fixed and optimized version of their current OS.

They call me Ub says:

Don't worry about the F-word. It's just someone who actually believes that word is hurtful/rude.

Anyhow, I'm a gamer. I have Vista and Ubuntu installed on my laptop. I'm also a bit of a nerd. So people come to me with their problems all the time. Do you know what most of these other people are running? Various versions of Windows. They have the whole gamut of problems. In fact once I gave someone a Windows Vista Install disk, it was like a system restore except it didnt have any of the drivers or the vendor bloatware. Do you know what happened. Vista had problems detecting various devices. The only reason people perceive that Windows is driver supportive is because the OEMs preload all the drivers on the computer. Usually, in a folder somewhere on the computer also. So Windows can have more if not equal problems as Linux.

Anonymous says:

> No one "buys" an OS these days. It comes pre-installed on your computer

So, you're saying I should buy a new computer when Win7 comes out? How is that cheaper, exactly?

Anonymous says:

Its not cheaper, but its common
a little too common really

keep up the FSCKING good work.... see, doesn't have to be a U you fucking pansies

Anonymous says:

There is no such thing as free software - someone is paying for it with either their money or time. Developing software is very expensive and maintaining it even more expensive. I develop free software for a living. We have ~15 people working on this project over a 2 year period along with all the other expenses of running a business. You can do the math yourself.

You think $200 is too expensive for an operating system? When's the last time you bought ANY software? Average PC game these days is ~$50 or 1/4 the price of the OS. Adobe Photoshop is $700 for the base version or $1000 for the extended version forcing most users to either steal it or use inferior free tools like Paint .Net or Gimp. The list goes on and on. $200 is a bargain.

Bill says:

Let's see. Adobe will come out with a new version of photoshop, etc for another $300-400. MS Office will be added to the mix for another $200. Virus protection will cost you $50 to upgrade. Got to get the new registry cleaner and kids games.

You will end up with well over a $1000 in just software just to say i have the latest and greatest. If you are not a power user or use MS advance features MS know you are a fruitloop. LOL!

MS strategy is to fix some stuff, remove some stuff and never finish a product to keep you in suspense and buying the same thing over and over again with a take and give.

I used Ubuntu and pay nothing for updates ever 6 months. I have been using it for over a yr and will never go back to paying for software.

John says:

To run a computer you need two things: a computer and an OS. How come people never complain that computer isn't free. I mean a notebook from Dell cost Dell money to build and an OS from Microsoft cost Microsfot money to build.

Dennis Murczak says:

This pricing problem is a much more general one. All electronics and hi-tech tend to cost exactly as much in € in Germany as they cost in $ in the US of A. Conspiracy anyone?

Just compare prizes on and

On the other hand, I am astounded how much you pay for something really important like food elsewhere :-)

Bill says:

Build your puter and save $. It is a easy do it yourself project. You can not go wrong connector only go one way and the CPU usually has a pin missing to align on the motherboard. I built mine for under $200 finding stuff on ebay, etc. And if you use ubuntu, it does not take as much of a computer to run fast.

I put Ubuntu on my sister's 10 yr old dell and it is the fastest machine in her house. Her sons vista and xp can not keep up with the old puter speed.

Anonymous says:

Hehe, another rant from a Linux user about how bad Microsoft is and how great their preference is.

You just don't get it. Most Microsoft users do not care about Linux. Most users of PCs are not technical. They do not want to learn something new. They get their OS with their PC and they never upgrade. They will never use Linux until it ships with a PC they want and works exactly how they want it to unless MS really fouls up and makes their lives bad.

Do you really think my granny wants to learn a new O/S? Does any normal user? No, they want to use the software and they don't want the O/S to even be noticeable.

Your suggestion that the O/S is too expensive shows naivety. An O/S is complex and if you want first class support you must pay for it. You either do this up-front by buying it or later with consultancy fees, support costs or poor service. It reminds me of the old joke about the person buying a car and not being happy about having to pay for the fuel, servicing, etc.

Bill says:

Ubuntu is just as easy as Windows. Order the free CD and try it for yourself and not touch your harddrive. Ubuntu is not technical. Even a cave man can do it. Just learn how to navigate the file system that is easier than windows.

Our school district switched to openoffice and saved millions over MS Office royalties.

I use to be one of you MS guys thinking it is the only way to go. Spent thousands over the years updating, books, computers, etc.

Believe me, try Ubuntu with an older computer or use the free CD and see that the sky is not falling without MS.

Spend you money on your family.

Never forget that puters are our slaves not our master.

Anonymous says:

Windows is not simpler. The average person doesn't know how to clean the registry, how to stop the malware, how to protect themselves from intrusion. Instead they are taught not to open a document. Not to run an executable. That isn't computing. That is fear.

Those people that ignore the fear and get into trouble have to spend hundreds every few months to have their machines cleaned by the local "PC guy". That isn't computing either. It's damned expensive, and damned inconvenient.

Computers are supposed to make your life easier. Whether the OS base price is cheaper or not is irrelevant. The ongoing cost of using a Windows PC is outrageous and represents no value proposition.

Linux does everything you need, in a friendly out of the way manner, without malware, trojans, viruses and ultimately without fear. Use it how you want to and enjoy computing.

If you don't want to buy MS and live in fear ask the store to remove Linux and discount the price of a new PC. They HAVE TO by law. If your current computer is running like a MS pig (after a fresh install just 2 months ago), do yourself a favour and install Ubuntu and enjoy the feeling of your computer being new once again.

Microsoft just simply don't know how to please an end user. The only interest they have in you is extracting every last penny you haveand they do that by guaranteeing failure.

What do you think is more logical:

1. That after 25 years MS still aren't quiet sure how to fix the security issues of their product or
2. They don't want it fixed. Too much money changes hands because of the intentional security flaws.

It isn't really hard to see which is more likely?

CHub says:

Windows 7 is just (a shuffle of) Vista. Not worth the price.

I tested ultimate version of Window 7 and tested on a Pentium i7 based system. I was expecting something special as I've hear so many say it's good, but my experience was nothing special when compared to Vista Ultimate edition.

Microsoft is hoping to get Game Player off XP but they wont move unless Microsoft sabotages the XP workings. Vista/Win7 is blotware using 12gb for a base install.

I've moved to Kubuntu and using Karmic release with KDE 4. So much better than Windows linage.

farmers says:

The writer talks about how expensive the box version is for someone building pcs. But honestly, who in their right mind sets out to build pcs then uses retail versions of Windows to install on them ? Anyone who knew what they were doing there would be buying oem, which is obviously much cheaper.

Brian says:

lol @ the window people. Linux FTW. And all the sensitivity about the title?!? Come on... he's right. Windows is f*ing expensive.

Anonymous says:

Computers should be sold without OS. Comsumer would make decision between OS:

Windows 7 Premius - 199 €
Linux (whatever9 - 0 €

I've made my choice 2 years ago - i took Linux. And spend nice bunch of euros. :)

Antton says:

I just wonder why there are still some many dumbasses giving money to Microsoft. What kinda a worshippers they really are?

Linux-Norway says:

I took a change of Ubuntu year ago and was very impressive. Normal computer user don't need Windows anymore. You can do almost whatever with Linux and sometimes even better. I don't think that 87% of people really need AutoCad in their computers or update TomTom-navigators so eagerly.

Linux is far more better and stabile OS comparing Windows. Years after years i hoped that MS finally have published good, safe and stabile OS. But they've always been just crap. Always the same story - first everything is working quite good, then later problems more and more. More blue screens and fatal errors, 5 minute restarting computers etc...

With Linux (my experience Ubuntu, Mint and Red Hat) everything works fine. No problems with devices. Surely i'll laugh to those stupid nuts who will once again loose money by picking brand new Windows computer, paying ridiculous lot of money and getting disappointed.

Just the same old story. Why is mankind so idiot?

Jack-Ass says:

Well. If these people wanna put more money to Ballmer's ass, it's there choice. The rest of uss - we should use Linux, OpenSolaris, Free BSD etc...

I'm not gonna start enlighten idiots.

Flying Finn says:

Without Linux the whole computer world would be now nothing but pain and sorrow. It's amazing thing how modern people are so easily spoofed.

Erlik says:

@ Anonymous: yes, $200 is too expensive for an OS, an OS is a commodity. I am more than willing to pay $50 for a game id it is a masterpiece.

The problem is that the the price of computer hardware as fallen tremendously because of economies of scale and commoditization while the price of software has stayed the same. Software also benefited from economies of scale, but Microsoft is putting money in it's pocket instead of letting it's customers benefit from it. ten years ago a laptop cost $1500 and Windows cost $200. Now a laptop cost $500 but Windows still costs $200!

Anonymous says:

Why even pay $20 for a boxed set of Ubuntu when you can download it (legally, of course) for free?

Anonymous says:

The title is vulgar? How did you enter this world?

You was made in a Japanese robot factory where they instelled W*indows on your logical circuits?

Bill says:

The title could be better for sure.

But, I see someone frustrated with windows pricing.

Anonymous says:

OMFG .....look at the f*cking people upset about the f*cking title.....this blog isn't about the f*cking title...LMFAO

Linux rules ...get a f*cking grip windows users.

Anonymous says:

My mother has vista on her machine, she uses it for surfing, email with gmail, and reading the local newspaper online. She also uses some card games, and likes to print off pictures of the grandkids. Her vista keeps crashing, is extremely slow, I have free antivirus, spyware and firewall software installed. She's not that technically savvy but she's not stupid either. I convinced her to let me show her ubuntu with out touching her hard drive.....she was amazed to say the least. We completely wiped her vista after copying pictures and other personal data and installed ubuntu. She is amazed at the speed and the lack of background security apps that we didnt have to install.We set up her desktop the way she wanted, I explained that she didnt have to worry about updates that it was all automatic and may tell her to reboot from time to time, may not, of course she could call me anytime. She is a happy ubuntu user and I have work to do...I have to help install ubuntu on approx. a doz. of her girlfriends machines, all of which run unsecured windows ranging between xp and vista and do not have money for upgrades or new machines.

Bill says:

Ubuntu is coming out within the next few versions update without a reboot and 10 second boot time.

MS Window ME and MS Windows Vista were designed to be bad so you would upgrade when the new version came out. MS strategy is to never make a good version to keep you buying new...

I have 4 machines with ubuntu.

Anonymous says:

Some of the comments here are frankly bizarre. Fanboy-ism is bad enough (and I read plenty above). The conspiracy theories are plainly ridiculous. Follow the logic of the arguments people. You think Microsoft purposefully introduces security holes so that people continue to buy their software.

Get a grip - you sound like idiots. I guess you believe in the Bermuda triangle and that aliens run the world too.

Do you really think you will convert people to the cause with this type of moronic ranting? It is representative of the childishness that still surrounds computing and puts people off talking to technologists.

Anonymous says:

Microsoft purposefully does not finish a version of Windows. Never will to get folks to buy the latest and greatest. This is the truth and I know it hurts to be deceived by folks you think you know. I used windows since ver 1. MS University has courses on how the human mind works. Down to the colors on the desktop to draw you into the lions mouth. I use to get a high buying new software all the time too. Thinking this will make it better. But, all it did was create a cycle of buy, buy, buy. I bought tons of books and software I never did used.

If you have money to blow, blow it on MS but do not think this new version will make you happier. If you buy window 7, you will be doing the same stuff as you do now. Web surfing and email will be the same. Control-C will center the same. What do you get new with window 7? Faster than vista almost as fast as XP, and a new screen with new bugs and tons of software to upgrade doing the same stuff you do. Lots of you will be awed just by purchasing window 7 and looking at the new screen.

Apple is bad too. 100 updates in this version of Apple OS.

Look at Bill Gates video about windows at

Anonymous says:

Do not forget to scan your machine to see if window 7 likes it or not. If not, go buy another PC to add to the cost.

Anonymous says:

Fucking MS.

Fishgutz says:

The really bad news for those who fall for W7 is that the project was lead by the woman who lead the Office 2007 project. I don't know anyone who likes what they did to O7.
I converted one home PC to Ubuntu. Left the other on XP. Work laptop is still XP. And the wife's mini-laptop is XP.
Open Office for the office suite too.