Microsoft dumps Windows 7 upgrades for EU

Blames the IE8 heave-ho for lack of 'in-place' upgrades; lowers prices for 'full' editions to make amends

Microsoft today told European consumers that they won't be able to do an "in-place" upgrade from Vista to Windows 7 when the latter ships this fall. In response, the company said it will sell full editions of the new OS at upgrade version prices.

The news confirmed details leaked earlier this week by TechARP.com that said users in Europe wouldn't be able to upgrade from Vista to Windows 7, and instead would have to do a "clean install" of the latter.

The problem stems from Microsoft's decision to strip Internet Explorer 8 (IE8) from Windows 7 for the European Union market in the hope that would head off harsher demands by the EU's antitrust regulators. Those officials have charged Microsoft with illegally tying IE to Windows, and have hinted that they will require the company to create a ballot screen in Windows that would offer customers a choice of several browsers. Microsoft and several European-based computer makers oppose that idea.

Windows 7 minus IE will be tagged as an "E" edition when the operating system ships Oct. 22.

Today, Microsoft claimed that it was lack of testing time that forced its hand. "Because of what needed to occur around testing of Windows 7E, it became very clear that we would not be able to offer a retail upgrade version of that piece of software on October 22," Brad Brooks, vice president for Windows consumer marketing, said in an Microsoft-conducted interview posted on the company's site.

"So, we had a choice to make," Brooks said. "Either we delayed the launch of Windows 7 in Europe or ... we brought it all together and did something different. So, what we decided to do is do something different. So in Europe we're going to basically offer Windows 7E full version at upgrade prices."

Windows editions that Microsoft labels as "Upgrade" are not only lower-priced than those tagged as "Full" or "Full Packaged Product" (FPP), but are also commonly used to do "in-place" upgrades from an older to a newer version. (Upgrade editions do, however, have a "clean install" option.)

An option for an "in-place" upgrade to European customers, however, would be worthless, since they will be required to do a clean install from Vista to Windows 7. Only a clean-install will result in an IE-less operating system, which is Microsoft's intent in the EU market.

That means European users who want to upgrade their PCs from Vista to Windows 7E will need to reinstall all their applications, recreate settings and restore data from a backup.

As an end-around for its self-made problem, Microsoft will simply not offer upgrade editions of Windows 7E, at least this year. In their place, it will sell full editions of Windows 7E Home Premium, Professional and Ultimate to EU and U.K. customers at the upgrade edition prices through Dec. 31, 2009, possibly later.

The full edition price of Windows 7 Home Premium in the EU, for example, is EUR199.99; until the end of the year, Microsoft will price the full edition at EUR119.99. In the U.K., meanwhile, a full edition of Home Premium will cost £79.99, not the usual price of £149.99.

Computer makers will be responsible for selecting and installing a browser to new PCs they sell in the EU, but Microsoft will handle the absence of IE by offering a free or heavily discounted DVD with IE8 and Windows Live Essentials to retail customers.

Join the PC World newsletter!

Error: Please check your email address.

Tags Microsofteuropean unionWindows 7

Our Back to Business guide highlights the best products for you to boost your productivity at home, on the road, at the office, or in the classroom.

Keep up with the latest tech news, reviews and previews by subscribing to the Good Gear Guide newsletter.

Gregg Keizer

Computerworld
Show Comments

Most Popular Reviews

Latest News Articles

Resources

PCW Evaluation Team

Azadeh Williams

HP OfficeJet Pro 8730

A smarter way to print for busy small business owners, combining speedy printing with scanning and copying, making it easier to produce high quality documents and images at a touch of a button.

Andrew Grant

HP OfficeJet Pro 8730

I've had a multifunction printer in the office going on 10 years now. It was a neat bit of kit back in the day -- print, copy, scan, fax -- when printing over WiFi felt a bit like magic. It’s seen better days though and an upgrade’s well overdue. This HP OfficeJet Pro 8730 looks like it ticks all the same boxes: print, copy, scan, and fax. (Really? Does anyone fax anything any more? I guess it's good to know the facility’s there, just in case.) Printing over WiFi is more-or- less standard these days.

Ed Dawson

HP OfficeJet Pro 8730

As a freelance writer who is always on the go, I like my technology to be both efficient and effective so I can do my job well. The HP OfficeJet Pro 8730 Inkjet Printer ticks all the boxes in terms of form factor, performance and user interface.

Michael Hargreaves

Windows 10 for Business / Dell XPS 13

I’d happily recommend this touchscreen laptop and Windows 10 as a great way to get serious work done at a desk or on the road.

Aysha Strobbe

Windows 10 / HP Spectre x360

Ultimately, I think the Windows 10 environment is excellent for me as it caters for so many different uses. The inclusion of the Xbox app is also great for when you need some downtime too!

Mark Escubio

Windows 10 / Lenovo Yoga 910

For me, the Xbox Play Anywhere is a great new feature as it allows you to play your current Xbox games with higher resolutions and better graphics without forking out extra cash for another copy. Although available titles are still scarce, but I’m sure it will grow in time.

Featured Content

Latest Jobs

Don’t have an account? Sign up here

Don't have an account? Sign up now

Forgot password?