Buy Windows 7 in Europe … at Half the US Price!

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Windows 7 boxesIt’s been a confusing few months for Microsoft’s European customers:

  1. In February 2009, the European Commission investigated Microsoft for anti-competive practices because Internet Explorer was bundled with Windows.
  2. In March, Microsoft revealed that IE could be uninstalled from Windows.
  3. In June, Microsoft announced there would be a special “E” edition of Windows 7 released in Europe. IE would not be provided and it would not be possible to upgrade from XP or Vista.
  4. In July, Microsoft allowed people to pre-order Windows 7 E at a 50% discount. The OS has received positive press, which resulted in all pre-order copies selling out on day one.
  5. The EU slammed Windows 7 E; they considered that offering no browser was not an alternative to offering a choice. Microsoft relented, Windows 7 E was abandoned, IE would be installed, but European users would be offered a ballot screen to choose their default browser.

The ongoing EU spat has resulted in a marketing muddle for Microsoft. It’s not possible to order upgrade versions of Windows 7 in Europe — you must purchase the full version. However, it’s been attractively priced because, originally, no browser would be provided:

Yes, you read that correctly. The UK price of Windows 7 is significantly less than the US price! EU residents can also choose their default browser, whereas US users must install one manually!

I’m stunned. UK and European residents normally accept they’ll be ripped off owing to various undisclosed shipping and currency conversion ‘costs’. It looks as though the EU investigation has done us a big favor (it’s about time!)

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