Microsoft to Offer Vista Holiday Coupons

Microsoft—and the whole PC industry—has a little bit of a problem as they head into the 2006 end-of-year holiday season: Microsoft Windows Vista and Microsoft Office 2007 aren’t going to be available to consumers until early 2007. So consumers might put of the purchase of PCs until the new software is available, creating a sales slump during an all important retail period.

So, to encourage consumers to buy PCs over the holidays anyway, Microsoft has announced a plan to offer coupons good for low-cost upgrades to Windows Vista and Office 2007 when they’re available. In conjunction with computer manufacturers and systems builders, Microsoft will offer coupons with new computers pre-installed with Windows XP or Office 2003.

Offers will vary by region and with the software installed on a particular PC. In the United States, updates from Windows XP Media Center Edition 2005 will apply towards Windows Vista Home Premium, and upgrades from Windows XP Professional, XP Tablet Edition, and XP x64 Edition will apply towards Windows Vista Business and Windows Vista Business 64 to a “nominal fee.” Upgrades from Windows XP Home Edition towards Windows Vista ome Basic and Home Premium editions will be offered at half-off the boxed product upgrade price (currently $99.95 and $159, respectively), plus shipping and handling.

Microsoft Office purchases made through “participating computer manufacturers in qualifying locations” will receive a coupon good for upgrades to a comparable edition of Office 2007 for just the cost of shipping and handling. Customers who purchase Office through a system builder will need to supply proof-of-purchase along with the coupon.

“Our customers can shop for a new PC with confidence this holiday season because of the Express Upgrade to Windows Vista and Office Technology Guarantee programs,” said Mike Sievert, Microsoft’s corporate VP of Windows Client Marketing. “These programs ensure people will have a great experience with their Windows XP-based PCs today, and an even better one when Windows Vista and the 2007 Microsoft Office release become available.”

The coupon program will run from Oct. 26, 2006, through March 15, 2007.

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