When Windows 7 goes in sale in October, those in North America who bought PCs between now and the shipping date will receive a free upgrade to the new OS. But not in Europe.
Microsoft claims that it can’t do that, because of European competition legislation. Instead, new PC buyers will receive the full version of the software – but at least it’s at a reduced price of £79.99 (around $120) for Home Premium, with Professional and Ultimate priced higher.
Starting July 15, those in the UK can also pre-order Windows 7 at the price of £49.99 for Home Premium and up (which is about half as much again as pre-ordering US customers will pay) "while stocks last." In all cases, the software will require a clean install, meaning users will have to back up programs and files. Windows 7 will not arrive in Europe with Internet Explorer bundled, also to comply with rulings.
However, the European Commission said Microsoft’s assertion was wrong. A spokesman claimed:
"For them to claim that this is somehow imposed by the Commission or is going to resolve the problem with the Commission is far from clear."
"It’s certainly not because we’ve asked them to do it."