Microsoft extends Vista bulk license discount to Europe

Amid complaints about bloated prices for the OS in the United Kingdom, software maker extends a U.S. discount program's reach.

Microsoft is extending discounts for multiple Vista licenses to small businesses and home users in Europe.

Nick White, product manager on the Vista launch team, revealed the extension to Europe of the Windows Vista Additional License program in his blog.

The bulk license discount, which Microsoft made available to U.S. customers in February and extended to European customers on Monday, allows small businesses and home users to install the same edition of a previously purchased Windows Vista operating system on additional computers. Customers can purchase up to five additional licenses at 10 percent off the suggested retail price.

Comments posted on White's blog show that some users still find Vista too expensive.

"I'm willing to give Vista a go. Only, however, if the family discount is extended to the U.K. in June, when the current limited-time U.S. only offer expires," one United Kingdom-based reader of White's blog said. "Otherwise, it's way too damned expensive for the three PCs I have. Ten percent per additional license is just not enough of a 'sweet deal' for me."

The family discount, which enables people purchasing Windows Vista Ultimate to buy up to two licenses of Vista Home Premium for $49.99 each, is currently unavailable in the United Kingdom.

Another blog response pointed out that many U.S. retailers already offer Vista at 10 percent below list price.

"Honestly, it leaves much to be desired--and I speak not as a Linux or Apple zealot--especially as you can easily find Vista discounted by 5 (percent) to 7 percent at Amazon.com or marked down by about that much at (U.S.) retail stores like Best Buy," the posting said. "Ten percent isn't worth it, unless you are completely incapable of comparison shopping--or you live 100 miles from the nearest computer store, and you're on metered dial-up."

In Europe, the Windows Vista Additional License program is currently available online only.

Tom Espiner of ZDNet UK reported from London.

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