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Microsoft Windows 7: Upgrade or just buy a pizza?

Microsoft's proposed Windows 7 upgrade strategy is sure to anger customers. When will it learn to make the computing experience better?

BusinessWeek is running a piece on Microsoft's latest attempts to fight back against Apple and Linux and its secret strategy to force unwitting Windows users to upgrade to various flavors of Windows 7.

Because of the smaller size of Windows 7, three versions of the program will come loaded even on lower-end machines. If a consumer on a cheaper PC running the "Standard" version tries to use a high-definition monitor or run more than three software programs at once, he'll discover that neither is possible. Then he'll be prompted to upgrade to the pricier "Home Premium" or "Ultimate" version.

Microsoft says the process will be simple. Customers enter their credit-card information, then a 25-character code, make a few keystrokes, then reboot. (Microsoft Corporate Vice President for Consumer-Product Marketing Brad Brooks) says pricing hasn't been determined, but upgrading "will cost less than a night out for four at a pizza restaurant."

I can't decide if this strategy is profoundly stupid or just utterly moronic.

Besides the fact that when you buy an Apple computer you aren't hoodwinked into upgrading the operating system, just think of all the simple things that can go wrong:

  • Consumer confusion (and subsequent anger) about what they are paying for in the first place
  • The upgrade not working or corrupting an existing installation
  • Online credit card processing through an operating system known for being exploited by a vast range of criminals
  • An assumption that the hardware will be capable of running the new operating system

As Microsoft continues to tout the Apple Tax, perhaps it should look inward a bit and realize that people are willing to pay for Apple products for the high-quality user experience, and not settle for a subpar experience on a product they use every day.

The vast majority of Windows users will end up frustrated and annoyed if this ridiculous upgrade plan idea comes to fruition. Meanwhile, the vast majority of Apple users will continue to save their pizza money and opt for a better computing experience.

Follow me on Twitter @daveofdoom