Microsoft Family Pack coming to UK
British consumers had been set to miss out on the Family Pack - which allows computer users to install Windows 7 on up to three PCs in the same household - because of an ongoing tussle between the European Commission and Microsoft over whether the technology company's practice of pre-installing the Internet Explorer web browser on computers was anti-competitive.
The dispute meant that Microsoft had to sell copies of Windows 7 in Europe without Internet Explorer pre-loaded, but the company has since reached a deal whereby it will offer users a choice of browser when installing the new operating system.
That means that full copies of Windows 7 can now be sold in European Union countries, paving the way for British consumers to buy the multi-license Family Pack when Windows 7 goes on sale on October 22.
The Windows 7 Family Pack will cost £150, which is considerably less than three separate copies of the software. However, Microsoft has warned that the multi-license pack will only be available "in limited quantities".
Microsoft's decision to offer a "ballot screen", so that users can decide which web browser they want to use, also means it can now offer upgrade editions of Windows 7 in the UK. For computer users already running Windows Vista on their machines, upgrading to Windows 7 will cost £79.99 for the Home Premium version, £189.99 for the Professional version, or £199.99 for the Ultimate version.
Computer users running Windows XP will find the upgrade and installation process more complicated, as it will require a clean install of a full version of Windows 7. Prices for those versions start at £149.99 for the Home Premium version, £219.99 for the Professional version, and £229.99 for the Ultimate version.
Microsoft's pricing plans are in sharp contrast to Apple, which launches its new operating system, Snow Leopard, on Friday. It will cost just £25 for existing Leopard users to upgrade to the new OS, while the £39 Family Pack can be installed on up to five computers within the same household.
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