Microsoft unveiled a second promotional deal for Windows Vista consumer and small business users, allowing them to buy additional licences at a 10 percent discount over suggested list price and upgrade as many as five more PCs.
The new "Windows Vista Additional Licence" programme targets customers who obtained Vista at retail -- either the full or upgrade version -- or pre-installed on a PC, and lets them buy up to five additional identical licences at 10 percent off. Users running Vista Home Premium on a new PC, for instance, are eligible only for more copies of Ultimate. Customers can't move up or down the Vista version scale.
Under the new plan, an extra licence for Home Premium costs US$143 (upgrade) or $215 (full versions) in the US. List prices for those editions are $159 and $236, respectively. Other versions are priced accordingly.
These new prices, however, are only slightly lower than those at large e-retailers such as Amazon — where Home Premium sells for $149.99 and $219.99 for upgrade and full — and are actually higher than the OEM versions sold online at discount stores like Newegg.com. At Newegg, for example, Home Premium OEM sells for $119.99.
Online retailers also currently sell sans-media "Additional Licence Packs": a licence for another PC. On Amazon.com, a Home Premium upgrade pack costs $137.99, $12 less than Amazon charges for a separate Premium upgrade, and $5 less than Microsoft's new program. When users buy one of these packs, they use their existing Vista DVD to install the OS on the new machine.
If the company blog that touts the program is any indication, Microsoft is just as interested in making sure users pay for every copy of Vista as in discounting extra licences. Nick White, the Vista product manager who spelled out the plan, expended 40 percent of the entry on reminding customers of Vista's licencing requirements, and the penalties for non-compliance.
"Windows Vista requires one licence per device," White said. "When attempting to install and activate the same licenced copy of Windows Vista on another PC, activation won't work. When the activation fails, the user is directed to purchase additional licences online or by phone. Remember, not properly activating Windows Vista will lead to it running in reduced functionality mode, so this new program is a handy way to avoid that situation."
After paying, customers receive additional product keys, then use their existing Vista installation DVD to install the extra copies on their other PCs, much as they already could on a single system using Anytime Upgrade.