So there is some joy for all those who have multiple PCs at home and want to upgrade to Windows 7 Home Premium. Microsoft has re-released the Family Pack edition of Windows 7 couple of days back in a clear intent to make sure that all the computers in a home are primarily PC based and folks don’t deviate to competitors (read: Mac). So essentially what they’re offering as part of the family pack is up to 3 installations and licenses of the Windows 7 Home Premium edition in a single box. However the caveat is that these three installations need to be upgrades from an earlier legitimate version of a Windows operating system – XP or Vista. So essentially, one of the system requirements for the installation of Windows 7 operating system is another Windows operating system. Well that really wouldn’t work in India or countries like India where a majority of the home users have only one PC and most likely that PC would have a pirated version of the operating system. That’s probably the reason Microsoft chose not to retail the Family Pack edition in India. It is releasing in a bunch of countries but India and Israel doesn’t fall under that list. The complete list is provided later on in this post.
Ok coming back to the Family Pack – obviously since the discs primarily offer only upgrades from original versions of the previous operating system, the cost is expected to be moderate and at $149 moderate is an understatement considering that the solo upgrade license of Home Premium costs about $119. Is that competitive pricing or bad marketing strategy? Well I would like to look at it as a great positioning in the larger scheme of things. How? Consider this – If most homes do go in for the Family Pack then not only are we ensuring that 3 PCs in a home (and it’s unlikely that a home will have more than 3) are affiliated to Microsoft (killing the Droids and Mac) but also that these 3 PCs will now have free utility software like Windows Live Essentials 2011 which can be used to connect data among these PCs using LiveMesh. It doesn’t stop there – These three PCs will now need Office software and there’s no family pack offering in Office. So I guess the only difficult thing for Microsoft is getting into the homes, because once they’re in there are so many product offerings for the customer that it makes sure that the customer looks nowhere else and returns the favor to Microsoft by giving it market share superiority.
Having said that, what eludes me is Microsoft’s strategy of offering the Family Pack with a tag saying “limited availability – only till stocks last”. Maybe there is a larger plan in saying so as well.
Here’s a list of countries where Windows 7 Family Pack will be available: United States, Canada, UK, France, Germany, China, Russia, Austria, Belgium, Denmark, Finland, Iceland, Ireland, Italy, Luxembourg, Netherlands, Norway, Portugal, Spain, Sweden, Switzerland, Czech Republic, Estonia, Greece, Hungary, Slovakia, Bahrain, Kuwait, Oman, Qatar, Saudi Arabia, UAE, Australia, Korea, New Zealand, Singapore, Hong Kong, Taiwan, Brazil, Bulgaria, Croatia, Latvia, Lithuania, Mexico, Romania, and Ukraine.
Me Thinks: Microsoft released a family pack edition along with the first release of Windows 7 but stopped it in between and then re-released it. Now though the reasons for this indecision are unclear my guess is that a good percentage of these homes would already have upgraded to Windows 7. I guess the offer of “only till stocks last” is for those multi PC homes who were still lingering on with good old XP and Vista.