Microsoft Slashes Windows 7 Pre-Order Prices In Half

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Microsoft’s (MSFT) new Windows 7 will ship on October 22. To drum up interest in the meantime, it’s offering consumers a 50% discount on upgrade pre-orders, starting tomorrow.

In the U.S., for instance, you’ll be able to pre-order Windows 7 Home Premium for $50 or Professional for $100. This will work via retailers like Best Buy or Amazon, or via Microsoft’s online store. (More info here.) Microsoft is also trying to catch a bigger chunk of the back-to-school market by offering upgrades to new PC buyers “at little or no cost to consumers.”

This is smart, even if it pinches margins a little. But if Windows 7 is going to be more successful than Vista, Microsoft needs to make sure Windows XP-using corporations — not just consumers — upgrade.

And you have to wonder how much of this discounting was in response to Apple’s plan to sell its new Mac OS, Snow Leopard, for $30.

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