Microsoft ending Vista family discount

Company says in blog posting that multicomputer software upgrade program, designed to attract early adopters, will "sunset" on Saturday.

Five months after its introduction, Microsoft is discontinuing a program that offered some Windows Vista purchasers the ability to buy additional copies of the operating system at a substantial discount.

Since Windows Vista went on sale to consumers at the end of January, U.S. and Canadian buyers of Vista Ultimate have had the option of buying up to two additional copies of Vista--albeit the Home Premium version--for an additional $50 apiece. The company had said it would re-evaluate the "Windows Vista Family Discount" after June 30.

In a posting on the Windows Vista Team Blog, Microsoft product manager Nick White said the program would "sunset" as of 11:59 p.m. PDT on June 30.

"Around the time of the Windows Vista launch, we announced the Windows Vista Family Discount program to further persuade families to become early adopters of Windows Vista," White wrote. "We've been pleased with the response to the program, which has enabled thousands of multicomputer families to upgrade more than one PC in their home to Windows Vista."

The move immediately drew the ire of some users, who posted responses to White's posting.

"This really sucks," a poster by the username of Hartelc wrote on the site. "I thought it was bad enough that we have to pay $50 for an additional license to get a downgraded version of (Vista)."

White responded in a follow-up posting: "Sorry you're disappointed with the program and its pricing structure. This was a trial for us to see how people responded to the offer, and we've gotten lots of constructive (criticism) as to how we could make it better if we were to do it again in (the) future."

Another poster pointed out that the program Microsoft is ending falls well short of what Apple offers with Mac OS X, allowing up to five Macs in a home to use the same upgrade version of the Mac OS for $199. Apple has offered that option since 2002.

Microsoft has a separate program, carried over from Windows XP, that gives purchasers of Windows a 10 percent discount on up to five additional licenses. No end date has been set for that program.

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