Microsoft cuts Vista prices by as much as 48 percent

Microsoft cuts Vista prices by as much as 48 percent

Microsoft is cutting the retail price of its Windows Vista operating system by as much as 20 percent in the U.S., but will slash at least some versions' price tags by more than 46 percent in both the U.K. and the European Union, the company confirmed Friday.

Late Thursday, Microsoft announced sweeping price cuts to boxed copies of Vista, saying then that the cuts would range from as low as 3 percent in developed countries to nearly 50 percent for some editions sold in poorer nations.

But by the numbers that Microsoft released last Friday, even customers in Western Europe — France, Germany, Spain and the U.K., among others -- will also see prices fall by nearly half.

According to the Redmond, Washington developer, the price for the upgrade version of Vista Home Premium will drop 18.8 percent in the U.S., from US$159.95 to $129.95. The full edition of Vista Ultimate, on the other hand, will be cut 20 percent, from $399.95 to $219.95.

But in the U.K., Vista Home Premium upgrade will get chopped by 46.8 percent, while the price of the full edition of Ultimate drops by 43.5 percent.

Cuts in the European Union, said Microsoft, will be just as dramatic: the Home Premium upgrade will be slashed by 46.2 percent, and the full version of Ultimate will be cut by 44.3 percent. Some of the pound and euro amounts yanked off Vista's retail price are impressive: Ultimate sheds 101 Pounds in the U.K., and 165 Euros in the EU.

In other markets, such as India, some cuts are even deeper. The full version of Vista Home Basic will drop by 48 percent. (In many markets, including India, Microsoft is combining the former full and upgrade packages into one SKU.)

Microsoft plans to institute the cuts when Vista Service Pack 1 (SP1) reaches retail. Earlier this month, the company announced it had shipped the SP1 code, and added that it would not deliver it to users via Windows Update for another six weeks. The company, however, has not set a specific retail date-of-availability.

"Retail customers will see boxed product with SP1 code on shelves in the next few months," said a Microsoft spokeswoman on Friday.

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