Consumers running Windows Vista Ultimate, who have blasted Microsoft for breaking promises to deliver a host of extras, are now knocking the company's upgrade plans and discount pricing for Windows 7.
Users commenting on several recent Computerworld stories about Windows 7 have let Microsoft have it, especially over the limited-time discount Microsoft is offering on pre-orders of Windows 7 Home Premium (US$49.99) and Professional (US$99.99).
"I think it's lousy that Microsoft is offering nothing during the current short-term promotion in terms of a discounted upgrade for Windows 7 Ultimate for customers who bought Vista Ultimate," said one of many anonymous commenters. "Nice way to take care of your customers who've already paid you the absolute most money..., folks."
"Hello everyone, my name is Dan, and I bought Windows Vista Ultimate -- the upgrade," said another user named, not surprisingly, "Dan," in another comment. "I was a fool. I not only bought Vista Home Premium, I spent additional money on what I hoped was going to be a better OS with some very unique added benefits. Fooled me once, Microsoft. Even fooled me twice. Never, ever, again. At any price."
As the commenters pointed out, Microsoft has not cut the price of Windows 7 Ultimate, which like the other retail editions, can be pre-ordered from the company as well as some select retailers, including Amazon.com. Instead, the top-end SKU is priced at $219.99 for an "Upgrade" and $319.99 for the "Full" version.
Others complained about the price, discounted or not. Although Microsoft dropped the suggested list price of Windows 7 Home Premium by 8% to 17% when compared to Vista's price, it left Ultimate (and Professional) unchanged.
"I find it simply outrageous Microsoft is charging me $219 to 'upgrade' to Windows 7," added an anonymous commenter who claimed he was also a Microsoft stockholder. "This pricing structure makes no sense at all and is already backfiring. As a stockholder I'm writing a letter to the Steve Ballmer board to change this pricing before it's too late. Heads should roll on this one.
"Those suckers that bought Vista Ultimate, myself included, are screwed," said yet another commenter. "There isn't a chance in hell that I am paying $219 for what should really be Vista SP2. We were promised 'extras' which we never got, now we are being excluded from the pre-order special. Anyway even at $49, it is still too much to pay."
The extras that commenter mentioned refer to "Ultimate Extras," one of the main features Microsoft cited in the months leading up to the 2007 release of Vista Ultimate to distinguish the operating system from its lower-priced siblings. According to Microsoft's marketing, Extras were to be "cutting-edge programs, innovative services and unique publications" that would be regularly offered only to users of Vista's highest-priced edition.
But users soon began belittling the paltry number of add-ons Microsoft released and the company's leisurely pace at providing them. Just five months after Vista was launched, critics started to complain.
Earlier this year, Microsoft dumped the feature, saying that it would instead focus on existing features in Windows 7 rather than again promise extras.
The furor over Vista Ultimate has even reached analysts' ranks. In May, Michael Cherry of Directions on Microsoft urged Microsoft to give Vista Ultimate owners a free upgrade to Windows 7. "It would buy them a lot of good will, and I don't think it would cost them much," Cherry said at the time.
Some of the commenters in the latest Computerworld stories about Windows 7 echoed Cherry.
"I am running Vista Ultimate and feel ripped off by Microsoft because ... [we] never received the extras we paid good money to get," said "Hellfire" in a long comment. "The very least that they should do is offer a heavily-discounted upgrade to Windows 7 Ultimate to those that have lost money by purchasing Vista Ultimate."