Key Points:

Microsoft has come out with plans to cut the price of Windows Vista around the world and today revealed the New Zealand price cuts for the operating system (though many of the cuts have in fact been in place here since mid-January).
Here's the new pricing versus the pricing Vista launched with over a year ago:

Windows VistaPrevious SP1
Home Basic$499 $379
Home Basic Upgrade$259$199
Home Premium$589$449
Home Premium Upgrade$349$229
Home Premium Up. Academic$199$169
Ultimate Upgrade$649$499

The size of the cuts vary - for instance, the price of an off-the-shelf copy of Vista Ultimate with service pack 1 has been cut by around 39 per cent (did anyone actually buy Vista Ultimate at $979?) The entry-level Windows Vista Home Basic SP1 has had a 24 per cent price cut.

The cuts are designed to encourage Vista upgrades - the bulk of people get Vista when they buy a new machine, only a small minority (less than 10 per cent) are buying the packages off the shelf and upgrading to Vista on their existing machines.


In comparison, the US version of Vista Ultimate has dropped from US$399 to US$319 (NZ$402), a 20 per cent decrease. Still, we pay a hefty $197 premium over the Americans for Vista Ultimate off the shelf. An upgrade to Vista Home Premium has dropped from $349 to $229 here or from US$160 to US$130 (NZ$164) in the US. We pay a premium of $65 over the Americans.

The price differences highlight once again how we are paying over the odds for goods compared to the Americans despite the fact our dollar is so strong against the greenback.

There might be some minor level of customisation required in creating Vista for our use, but software is exactly the area where we should be gaining the benefit of globalised parity in pricing. Again it becomes cheaper to buy software in the US and have it shipped here than to buy it in a local store.


on the web about what has motivated the price cuts.

If you're upgrading it likely means you haven't bought a new computer in the last year so make sure that your older machine is capable of running Vista properly. Microsoft has an

where you can download a 6.6MB piece of software to test your PC's specifications.