One of the best things about Windows Vista's new packaging is the fact that all retail versions of the OS are on one disc. If you have one copy of Vista, you have the code for almost all of the other versions.
hat's the driving force behind Anytime Upgrade, and it's also the reason why Microsoft is now trying to entice consumers into buying discounted licenses. This past week the company announced the Windows Vista Additional License program, which provides discounts to customers who have already purchased either a retail or an OEM edition of Windows Vista. The program was announced by Nick White, Microsoft product manager. According to White, the offer has been available for several weeks, although unannounced, and it will be made available in Europe, Asia and the Middle East early next week.
The program gives users a 10 percent discount on up to five additional Windows Vista licenses. Customers are eligible to buy licenses for the edition of Windows Vista that they already own. That is, a customer with Home Premium can buy up to five additional Home Premium licenses, but cannot purchase a combination of Home Premium and Ultimate licenses, for instance.
The discounts are modest when put into context. The Home Premium upgrade is $143.00 discounted, down from $159. Retailers are selling Home Premium upgrades for $150-$155 on average, so the discounts aren't exactly shocking, especially considering that the $143.00 price gets you nothing more than a sheet of paper with a licensing key on it.
The new program builds on the so-called "Windows Vista Family Discount," which offers Home Premium upgrade licenses for $49.95 to customers who have purchased Vista Ultimate. We suspect that Microsoft realized that the program was hobbled somewhat by the requirement that customers first purchase Ultimate, which is the most expensive Windows Vista available, at $399 for the full version or $259 for the upgrade. Yet the newer discount program isn't actually much better.
If you're considering snapping up a few licenses, be aware of the pricing conundrum this creates. Three Home Premium upgrades would cost approximately $445 under the Additional License program (one full price, two discounted), whereas an Ultimate upgrade plus two additional Premium licenses would cost $357, about $90 less.
It's actually a quite confusing message, because in one case the Home Premium upgrades are practically 1/3 the cost of the other, yet both are "discount" programs. By spending about $100 more for Ultimate, you save about $100 each on Home Premium, although you are limited to two such purchases. Caveat emptor.