I’ve returned from a few days away to discover that Microsoft’s special Windows 7 offer, which was meant to run from July 15th 2009 until August 9th 2009, has already in effect expired. This was the deal for UK customers (already less generous that that offered in the USA):
You can pre-order Windows 7 Home Premium E for £49.99** or Windows 7 Professional E for £99.99**.
The double stars are merely a reference to the odd decision to supply Windows without a web browser in Europe – a strategy to counter the EU’s monopoly concerns.
However, if you go along to Amazon.co.uk, for example, you can order Windows 7 Home Premium for £69.98 or Professional for a distinctly un-special £159.99.
I clicked all the links on Microsoft’s offer page and could not find any retailer still offering Windows 7 at the special price.
If the offer was intended to achieve a flurry of pre-orders, I am sure it succeeded. If on the other hand it was a reward to beta testers, as claimed by Brandon LeBlanc:
A special thank you to our beta testers is needed for their time and effort in helping make Windows 7 a solid release. The special pre-order offer we did offering Windows 7 Home Premium and Windows 7 Professional at almost 50% discount was done with our beta testers in mind.
then I am puzzled. First, it was not restricted to beta testers; and second, if you were a beta tester who happened to be away at the wrong moment, then you missed out.
Will customers who are aware that they have missed the offer for arbitrary reasons now be happy to pay 50% more? From a marketing perspective, that is the interesting question. I suppose most users will not allow pique to influence their OS choices; but they will be understandably annoyed.