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Windows 98 pricing holds the line

Microsoft's Windows 98 operating system will probably follow the same pricing structure as its predecessor, Windows 95.

Microsoft's Windows 98 operating system will probably follow the same pricing structure as Windows 95, as Microsoft prepares to launch the next version of its ubiquitous software.

The full installation of Windows 98 will cost around $209, the same as the full installation of Windows 95, Microsoft sources say. An upgrade from Windows 95 will cost around $109, the cost of upgrading from a previous version of Windows to Windows 95.

Meanwhile, Chumbo, an Internet-based reseller, today announced that customers can preorder Windows 98 for $94.99 for the upgrade version and $179.99 for the full version. Windows 98 isn't expected to hit the stores until mid-June.

A Microsoft spokesman confirmed that Windows 98 and Windows 95 will have a very similar price point, but would not confirm the exact cost of Windows 98. The software giant is notoriously close-mouthed about pricing, availability, and release dates for its products.

Selling Windows 98 at the same price as Windows 95 is a bargain, Microsoft believes, given the advanced set of features the new version of the operating system offers.

Windows 98 will offer an integrated Web browser, a television tuner and program guide, faster application loading, and built-in support for multiple monitors, DVD (digital versatile disc) technology, and USB (universal serial bus) connections.

Windows 98 pricing for original equipment manufacturers, or OEMs, who buy software titles at a discount in large volumes, is expected to be in the $50-70 range, industry analysts have previously said.

Reuters contributed to this report.

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