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Microsoft alters Windows 7 pricing for Europe

Starting Sept. 1, buyers there won't be able to get the full version of Windows 7 for the upgrade price, an option that dates back to an earlier plan to offer a browserless version.

Microsoft said Monday that it plans in a week to end an offer that allowed those buying Windows 7 in Europe to get the full version of the operating system for the price normally charged for the upgrade version.

Those who want to pre-order the full version for the upgrade price have until Aug. 31 to do so, Microsoft said in a blog posting. After Sept. 1, users will be able to order an upgrade version or pay a higher price for the full version, which does not require an earlier version of Windows be installed.


The discounted full version dates back to Microsoft's original plan to deliver Windows 7 in Europe in a special "E" version without a browser. At that time, Microsoft said it would not do an upgrade version, but would instead offer the full version of Windows 7 at upgrade pricing.

However, amid widespread criticism and indications the browserless options wouldn't fly with European regulators, Microsoft said last month it would scrap that plan and instead allow users in Europe to choose which browsers they want from a ballot screen.

Microsoft said it is still working out the details on that front. "I hope to continue to keep people updated on our ballot screen proposal as we have more to share," Microsoft blogger Brandon LeBlanc said in Monday's posting.

As for the pricing, it varies by country, but Microsoft said it will offer a discounted rate on Windows 7 Home Premium upgrades for the remainder of 2009.

For now, in Britain, for example, the full version costs 99 British Pounds ($162). After Sept. 1 and through the end of the year, Microsoft will sell the upgrade version for 79 pounds ($130), while the full version will sell for 149 pounds ($245). Next year and beyond, the upgrade will sell for 99 pounds and the full version will be 149 pounds.

Microsoft also said on Monday that it will extend, for a time, a family pack option for Windows 7 to eight European countries-- the United Kingdom, Ireland, Germany, France, Switzerland, Austria, the Netherlands, and Sweden. Microsoft already announced plans to offer the family pack in the United States and Canada.