updated 05:05 pm EST, Thu January 18, 2007
MS selling Vista direct
Apple rarely lets you download software you have to buy, but Microsoft today revealed the option to buy Windows Vista online from the company's recently launched Windows Marketplace, Electronista reports. In what may be a first for mainstream OS software, the Redmond-based developer will give access to both 32- and 64-bit upgrade copies of Vista's Home, Business, and Ultimate editions as direct downloads when the OS is officially available on January 30th. The download of a DVD-sized installation is possible through a digital locker, Microsoft says; the service remembers the license for any downloaded software and lets users download software again, even if a catastrophic failure forces a reinstall of the earlier version of Windows.
Simultaneously, the company has revealed its first family licensing plan for Windows. The simply-titled Vista Family Discount will give purchasers of Vista Ultimate in full or upgrade editions the option to buy as many as two copies of Vista Home Premium at $50 each. The upgrade path marks a stark change in the company's approach to home licensing, where the company has previously insisted on individual licenses. Apple has offered five-system licenses of Mac OS X since the introduction of Jaguar in 2002, but has to date only provided physical media for its updates.