Apparently Microsoft believed it wasn’t sufficiently confusing to offer four different versions of Windows Vista (Home Basic, Home Premium, Business and Ultimate), with upgrade and non-upgrade prices for each, so now it has created an absolutely impenetrable labyrinth with a “special limited time offer.” There’s more information about it in the Vista team blog today.

In short, if you buy a boxed copy of Vista Ultimate for $259 (upgrade) or $399 (full), you can get two additional copies of Vista Home Premium for $50 each. Three hundred sixty dollars, or five hundred, for three licenses that would otherwise be, umm – but each one can be upgraded after it’s installed using Vista’s built-in “Anytime Upgrade” for another, lessee, where’s that chart – oh, wait, that’s not the right chart, it’s the one in the original article that has completely different prices. Now if you compare that to buying upgrade licenses, one for Ultimate and two for Home Premium, and then upgrade those two to Ultimate later – hang on, I lost my place. Any special requirements for the licenses – who knows? Is there something that forces the copies to be in the same house, say, or can my clients start little Vista purchase clubs?

Fortunately, it doesn’t matter to most of us, other than contributing to the general sense of hopelessness and despair in the world. Repeat after me: we are not going to upgrade any computer currently in our possession to Windows Vista. We’re going to buy it preinstalled on our new home computers enthusiastically; we’re going to buy it preinstalled on our new office computers after much deliberation (and possibly not for six months or more); but we’re never going to install it on anything other than a freshly formatted hard drive (and if you’re going to do that, you might as well buy a new computer so all the hardware is compatible).

I try to look at the world through your eyes, searching for simplicity, clinging to the belief that it’s possible to find tools that will make us productive by doing the job for which they are designed. Confusing product lineups and prices that are a blur – and that’s for a product that is well-designed and works as promised, unlike far too many other hardware and software products on the market. Things are never going to be simple again . . .

Share This