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Costco trims price of Windows XP

Costco.com, the Web unit for the members-only discount retailer, is taking preorders for the upgrade version of Windows XP Professional for $184.99--$15 below Microsoft's list price.

It's not too early to start comparison-shopping for Microsoft's new operating system, as at least one retailer has already marked down Windows XP.

Costco.com, the Web unit for members-only discount retailer Costco, is taking preorders for the upgrade version of Windows XP Professional for $184.99--$15 below Microsoft's list price.

Microsoft last week announced that the estimated retail price for the full version of Windows XP Professional, the business version of the software, would cost $299. The upgrade version--which can be used by those who already have a relatively recent copy of Windows on their PC--will cost $199. The full consumer version of the software, due in stores Oct. 25, will be $199, or $99 for the upgrade version.

A Microsoft spokesman said Friday that Costco's discount is a reflection of the laws of supply and demand. Microsoft's prices for the software were only estimates. In reality, the company is powerless to tell retailers what price they can sell products for, he said.

The day before Microsoft announced its price for XP, Amazon.com gave a sneak peek of retail prices when it prematurely began taking preorders for the new operating system. The online store pulled the offer after several hours, saying a glitch had caused the offer to go up early. Amazon resumed taking preorders once Microsoft announced its price.

Costco representatives could not be reached for comment.

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