I want to provide a couple of updates for my friends in Europe today in regards to Windows 7.
I want to start off with an update to our plans for the Windows 7 Family Pack. As I mentioned last month, starting with the launch of Windows 7 on October 22nd, customers will be able to buy a Family Pack in the US & Canada. This allows users to install Windows 7 Home Premium on up to 3 existing Windows PCs for a reduced price. It’s an easy and cost effective way to get customers entire household on Windows 7.
I can now tell you of several more countries that will have a chance to take advantage of this great deal: the UK, Ireland, Germany, France, Switzerland, Austria, the Netherlands and Sweden. This will also be a limited offer, but is just one more way that our customers can save on Windows 7.
So what changed to make this possible? Basically, the fact that we are now able to have an upgrade version of Windows 7 available at launch.
On July 24th, 2009 – we announced a new proposal to the European Commission address competition concerns regarding the Windows OS and Internet Explorer web browser.
Under this new proposal, customers in Europe who buy a new Windows PC with Internet Explorer set as their default browser would be shown a “ballot screen.” Through this ballot screen, people can easily download and install the browser of their choice from the web.
As the result of our new proposal, as announced on July 31, we will no longer offer E versions of Windows 7 in retail, OEM or other channels. European Economic Community countries will have the same version of Windows 7 as the rest of the world.
As well as allowing for a Family Pack offer, it means that we are now able to have an upgrade version of Windows 7 available in Europe at launch. Windows 7 retail boxes will be available in both Full and Upgrade versions via pre-orders through Microsoft online stores where available and our retail partners starting September 1st and at General Availability on October 22. We will, however, continue to make Windows 7 N versions available that does not include Windows Media Player.
For customers who have already pre-ordered the full version of Windows 7 E in the EU – either as part of special pre-order offers or otherwise – they will receive full versions of Windows 7 that include Internet Explorer 8. These customers, and any other customer who pre-orders Windows 7 before upgrade versions are available on September 1, will still be able to get upgrade pricing for Windows 7 full versions.
Customers can also wait for September 1st, 2009 when they will have a choice of an upgrade or full version of Windows 7 at separate pricing. So essentially if you’re in Europe, you will have the product and pricing options available on a worldwide basis as of September 1st through the Microsoft Store and our retail partners.
I hope to continue to keep people updated on our ballot screen proposal as we have more to share.