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

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!

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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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