Another Express Upgrade? Windows 7, June 26, $50

Chicago (IL) – Retailers will be using an early Windows 7 pitch to lure consumers into buying a new Windows PC or a standalone version of the software: If you buy after June 26, you will get Windows 7 for free when it is actually available. Or, you can reserve two versions of Windows 7 Update for $50 or $100 during a 3-week time frame. And we are certain that this Express Upgrade pitch will work once again, despite the Vista Express Upgrade disaster.

So, Windows 7 will not be available until October 22. Why would you buy the software then between June 26 and July 11? Retailers such as Best Buy apparently believe consumers are so eager to replace Vista that they will shell out at least $50 for an upgrade almost four months before the software is released.

According to an internal Best Buy Memo posted by Engadget, some retailers will be offering Windows 7 under a “Technology Guarantee” program, promising a free Windows Vista to Windows 7 update, if you buy a Windows PC or the standalone software between June 26 and the actual October 22 launch date of the software. Or, for all the impatient Windows users, you can buy the software during a special 3-week time frame: Pay $50 for Windows 7 Premium Update or $100 for the Professional Update and wait for the software to arrive in your mail sometime after October 22.

Of course, this sales pitch is reminiscent of the Windows Vista Express Upgrade program, which was put in place by Microsoft so it could cash in on the Christmas business back in 2006. This time, Microsoft will make the Christmas season, but retailers will ask consumers to shell out money early anyway. It is a sales pitch that makes me scratch my head in any way you look at it: If you were among the Vista Express Upgraders, then you know that this might turn into everything else but an Express Upgrade. Those who purchased Vista early had to wait several months after launch until they actually received their copy in the mail.

Best Buy’s memo did not state when those pre-purchased Windows 7 copies would actually ship to buyers. But clearly, common sense suggests that you should not buy a standalone Windows 7 copy now. There will be plenty of Windows 7 packages available on October 22 and if you really can’t wait to install the software, your best bet is to buy it on October 22 and take it home then.

It is interesting to see that Best Buy’s memo noted that Windows 7 is not just a Windows “Vista that works”, but comes with “improved productivity” and “functionality.” I will leave those claims at that, but we all know that Windows Vista is everything the operating system should not have been and that Windows 7 is the operating system Vista should have been. I do not have any doubt that Microsoft will convince lots of consumers to buy Windows 7, even if some might claim the software should be a free upgrade for Vista.

And we all know that Best Buy and other retailers will be able to convince many consumers to buy their copy early, as ridiculous as this approach may sound.