updated 02:45 pm EDT, Tue May 19, 2009
Dell Warns on Win 7 Price
Microsoft's attempt to increase the prices for Windows 7 could hurt sales of PCs, Dell director of business product management Darren Ward says early this week. Without providing exact numbers, he explains to CNET that the average selling price of the OS will increase from Vista and that it should be particularly higher for Windows 7 Professional, which replaces Windows Vista Business as the mainstream work version. He adds that costs of retail boxed copies should go up but doesn't specifically address the OEM (original equipment manufacturer) prices Dell gets for its own systems.
The increase is enough that Ward is concerned Microsoft may scare away some customers by driving up the prices while customers are still concerned about the costs of their PCs. He sees the price change as sufficiently high that some smaller businesses, governments and schools simply couldn't afford to update.
"In tough economic times, I think it's naive to believe that you can increase your prices on average and then still see a stronger swell than if you held prices flat or even lowered them," Ward says.
The concerns come in spite of optimism regarding Windows 7 itself. Many of Dell's customers are anticipating 7 where they had consciously avoided Vista, Ward notes, and that driver support is much better now than it was in the run-up to Vista's January 2007 debut. The announced XP emulation mode for Professional and Ultimate users is also set to help businesses by letting them run older apps that won't run without a complete XP environment.
Microsoft has acknowledged that Windows 7 is being accelerated for a launch by the holidays and is generally believed to be ready for late October.