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Windows 7 preorder a hit--on Amazon

The option to order the new Microsoft operating system early, and at a substantial discount, proves tempting for many users of the online megaretailer and other electronics sellers.

Amazon has been taking quite a number of early orders for Windows 7. The $49 preorder version of Windows 7 Home Premium is now the top seller not just among software products, but among all electronics items at the online retailer.

Microsoft's program for preordering Windows 7 at a discount is proving quite popular, at least at Amazon.com.

The program, which kicked off on Friday, allows people to order an upgrade version of Windows 7 Home Premium for $49, more than half off its $119 suggested price, or Windows 7 Professional for $99, half of its suggested price.

Both options run only until July 11 and are also limited in terms of the number of copies Microsoft will sell at those prices, though the software maker won't clarify what the limits are. (Users will get their copy of the operating system after it is made broadly available on October 22.)

The two offers have proven exceptionally popular on Amazon. The Windows 7 Home Premium upgrade package vaulted to No. 1, not just in Amazon's software store, but among all electronics products on the site. Meanwhile, the Windows 7 Professional upgrade was No. 2 among software products. Amazon also has a lot of Windows 7 info on its site, as well as a paid delivery option that guarantees that the product will arrive on October 22.

I'm checking into how the preorder program is doing at other stores. It is also being offered at the brick-and-mortar and/or online outlets Best Buy, Costco, Newegg, Office Depot, Office Max, Sam's Club, Staples, Tiger Direct, Wal-Mart, as well as at a few regional spots, such as Fry's Electronics and Nebraska Furniture Mart.

Best Buy, for its part, said preorders of Windows 7 immediately took off on Friday--faster than with previous preorder programs. Overall, though, it said sales are in line with its projections.

Microsoft is also running similar programs in a few other countries. Reports from Engadget and elsewhere suggest that the program is already sold out in Japan. A Microsoft representative was not immediately able to confirm this.

Also kicking off this past weekend was a separate program in which those who buy certain PCs with Windows Vista can get a free (or nearly free) copy of Windows 7, once the new operating system is available.