Vista and Irrational Pricing Strategies

Contrast Microsoft’s approach to Apple. Leopard doesn’t have any machine level enforcement of licensing yet when I was in the Apple store buying my upgrade I still forked over $200 for a 5 machine family pack instead of $100 for the single license and cheating my way to 3 machines. People are basically honest when companies provide them with a reason and an unobstructed path.

Microsoft’s pricing on XP and Vista is screwy. On one hand I can buy Vista for the same price as XP while on the other I could upgrade a pirated version of Vista to a legal version for less than the retail price of either.

Ironically, those prices are significantly better than the retail prices that you’ll find from legitimate Windows resellers. In theory, at least, a consumer could install a copy of Windows Vista without a product key, refuse to activate the system for 30 days, and then purchase a perfectly legal license at a discount using Microsoft’s online offer. [From » With SP1, Microsoft plans to ditch the Vista “kill switch” | Ed Bott’s Microsoft Report |]

Maybe one reason why Vista has not captured the hearts and minds of the masses has nothing to do with the feature set, security, or user interface… maybe it’s simply a matter of irrational pricing being an obstacle.

Not that they care what I think, but reduce the complexity of the product matrix (too many SKUs), drop the price to (a lot), and kill the silly amnesty program because if they price the product right the overwhelming majority of users will, as Apple has demonstrated, buy it legally.