First came the Windows 7 browser stripping, then the official pricing then the Family pack leaks then the pre-order records then the browser u-turn, then the free copies for Technical beta testers and now the upgrade costs. I'm exhausted already...
So let's just get them out the way.
Windows 7 Starter to Windows 7 Home Premium - £69.99
Windows 7 Starter to Windows 7 Professional - £119.99
Windows 7 Starter to Windows 7 Ultimate - £139.99
Windows 7 Home Premium to Windows 7 Professional - £119.99
Windows 7 Home Premium to Windows 7 Ultimate - £124.99
Windows 7 Professional to Windows 7 Ultimate - £84.99
Yes, buying a copy of Windows 7 starter then upgrading it to Windows 7 Ultimate is far more expensive than simply buying Windows 7 Ultimate in the first place (an extra £45), it's called idiot tax. Still, at least you have the option.
Where we don't yet have an option is the Windows 7 Family Pack ($149) which will allow users to install the same copy of Windows 7 Home Premium on three different PCs. Microsoft says issues with the Windows 7 E SKU mean it will not be ready until 2010. I don't entirely buy this excuse but the company does say it "is currently working on the best solutions for its UK consumers, and will be in touch if there are any further announcements on this topic."
Roll on 22 October.
Update: There's some confusion about the status of Windows 7 E at present. Paul Thurrott's SuperSite for Windows quotes Microsoft now as saying:
"In the wake of last week's developments, as well as continuing feedback on Windows 7 E that we have received from computer manufacturers and other business partners, I'm pleased to report that we will ship the same version of Windows 7 in Europe in October that we will ship in the rest of the world.
One reason we decided not to ship Windows 7 'E' is concerns raised by computer manufacturers and partners. Several worried about the complexity of changing the version of Windows that we ship in Europe if our ballot screen proposal is ultimately accepted by the Commission and we stop selling Windows 7 'E'. Computer manufacturers and our partners also warned that introducing Windows 7 'E', only to later replace it with a version of Windows 7 that includes IE, could confuse consumers about what version of Windows to buy with their PCs."
By contrast Microsoft is still listing and taking orders for all Windows 7 E versions on its official UK site at http://www.microsoft.com/uk/windows/buy/offers/pre-order-ended.aspx. We'll be checking in with Microsoft today and seeing what's the what...