If Microsoft and computer makers offer free or discounted versions of Windows Vista to PC buyers this fall and winter, the way promotions for XP were run in 2001 will offer some clues, said a research analyst.
Thursday, a Microsoft executive said that the Redmond, Wash. developer will take steps to prevent a market slow-down during the months leading up to the anticipated January 2007 release of Vista.
"Most likely, we will have some sort of promotion at the consumer level," Mike Sievert, Microsoft's corporate vice president of Windows client marketing, told CRN. "It's important that people see value right up until the launch of Vista."
"I'd look to what happened then [in 2001]," advised Paul DeGroot, analyst with Kirkland, Wash.-based Decisions on Microsoft. "That's the previous experience."
Five years ago, as Windows XP's fall debut neared, OEMs began offering either free upgrades to XP for new PC buyers, or charged for a coupon that entitled them to a Windows XP disc. Compaq -- prior to its acquisition by Hewlett-Packard -- gave away the upgrade to XP, while other OEMS, such as Gateway and Dell, charged handling fees ranging from $15 to $39.