Microsoft has released the retail prices for Windows 7, so let's dive right in.
 
For full retail versions:
  • Home Premium Full: $199
  • Professional Full: $299
  • Ultimate Full: $319
For retail upgrades:
  • Home Premium Upgrade: $119
  • Professional Upgrade: $199
  • Ultimate Upgrade: $219
This doesn't include OEM pricing. OEM versions cost significantly less since the license is non-transferable from one computer (defined as a motherboard by Microsoft) to another, but due to volume discounts we don't know what the exact pricing will be. Individual units tend to go for one-half the price of a full retail kit, so adjust accordingly.

This means that we also don't have the prices for Home Basic and Starter. Home Basic is limited to developing countries, but Starter is not. Presumably Starter is going to be dirt-cheap (relatively speaking) to match the margins of the Netbooks Microsoft is trying to pair it with. Copies of XP for use on Netbooks have been rumored to be as cheap as $15 for the biggest OEMs.

Of note, users hoping for a cheap upgrade path from Vista are going to be disappointed. The retail upgrade kits are for Vista and XP, and are priced accordingly. This may be good for picking up the stragglers who are still on XP, but it's not going to do any favors for Microsoft in picking up Vista users. Vista-to-Win7 pricing is likely too high for the limited differences between the two.

As compared to Vista pricing, Win7 Home Premium is roughly 10% cheaper than it is for Vista, in particular hitting the somewhat magical $199 price point for a full version that Vista Home Premium never reached. I had been expecting Microsoft to do $99 for the Home Premium upgrade (never underestimate the value in manipulating consumers when superficially chopping off a digit in a price) but it looks like that's not in the cards.

Win7 Professional prices are unchanged compared to Windows Vista Business. Microsoft will be selling this as a reasonable price since Win7 Professional is not stripped of Home Premium's features like Vista Business was, but the OEMs in particular aren't going to be amused. There has been some saber rattling recently between some of the OEMs and Microsoft over this matter, as they wanted the price to come down on Professional/Business to shore up their margins.

Last, Ultimate is going to be priced significantly lower than it was for Vista's launch, although in recent months it has been priced lower because of slow sales due to its silly price in the first place. Microsoft's list price of $319 is well above what Vista Ultimate is going for right now ($250 at Newegg) so some things may still be in flux, or Microsoft is trying to burn off boxed copies of Vista Ultimate. Regardless, Win7 Ultimate will only be priced $20 above Win7 Business, an appropriate price given the few differences between it and Professional. However given that it's just a few differences and Microsoft's own intentions to downplay it, it's probably not going to be a big seller.

On a final note, Microsoft is starting to pander to the bargain hunters early, so if you have been waiting for a Win7 version of Power Together, The Ultimate Steal, or other Microsoft discount promotions, pay attention. Microsoft will be taking pre-orders for Win7 upgrades through some of their closest retail partners (Newegg, Best Buy, etc) starting tomorrow and ending July 11th. The Home Premium and Professional upgrades will be priced at $49 and $99 respectively. I'll update this post tomorrow with links once we have them.

Meanwhile in a strange turn of events, Europe is going to be getting an even better pre-order deal. Microsoft has been having legal issues in the region, most recently with regard to Internet Explorer, so this may be an attempt to placate the European Commission. Pre-orders there will be for the full versions, and will be priced at roughly €49.99 ($70) and €109.99 ($154) respectively for Home Premium and Professional, with prices likely varying some between countries. This may end up being the cheapest way to get a full version of Win7 at the moment, depending on one's ability to find a participating retailer that will ship to North America, and what those shipping charges will be alongside Customs fees and taxes.
 
Update:
 
The pre-order sales have started. Microsoft has a site up with all of the participating vendors, including Newegg, Amazon, and Fry's. It looks like a couple of vendors have broken the MSRP, Costco is selling both versions for $5 less.
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  • Pirks - Friday, June 26, 2009 - link

    That's BS! You can't be disappointed with ultrasteal $49/upgrade deal. This will be first legal retail copy of Windows in my life, woohoo! $49 can't be freakin resisted no matter what Ryan complains about here. Reply
  • Homerr - Tuesday, June 30, 2009 - link

    Keep in mind that to have a legit upgrade you need a legit older full OS. Reply
  • Jeff7181 - Friday, June 26, 2009 - link

    Yes, I can be. You should be too. You can legally upgrade a stolen version of Windows to a legal version using a Windows 7 upgrade license. Reply
  • Jeff7181 - Friday, June 26, 2009 - link

    That should read... you can't legally upgrade... Reply
  • Pirks - Friday, June 26, 2009 - link

    Check your facts losa :P

    http://community.winsupersite.com/blogs/paul/archi...">http://community.winsupersite.com/blogs...ade-medi...

    I've gotten a ton of questions about the Windows 7 retail pricing stuff, as expected. But the number one question, by far, is an oldie but goodie:
    "Can I use a Windows 7 Upgrade version to perform a clean install of the OS?"
    This is becoming particularly antsy for people because they want to take advantage of the time-limited Windows 7 presale, which starts tomorrow.
    So, what the heck, I asked.
    The answer, I'm told, is ... Yes. You can perform a clean install of Windows 7 with the Upgrade media, as you could with Windows Vista.

    eat that! hahahaaaa :)))
    Reply
  • mcnabney - Tuesday, June 30, 2009 - link

    Yes, you can install it.

    But no, you will not be able to activate it without associating it with a legitimate XP/Vista key. So it will run for a while, then die.
    Reply
  • sebmel - Saturday, June 27, 2009 - link

    This reply highlights the ambiguity of English:

    can = possible
    can = permission

    Yes you can (possible) use an upgrade copy of Windows 7 to do a clean install but, NO, you can't (permission) if you don't have a full legal license for XP or Vista.
    Reply
  • Ryan Smith - Friday, June 26, 2009 - link

    Bear in mind that I'm referencing the regular $119/$199 pricing. The pre-orders are a good deal, but they're only for 2 weeks. Reply
  • vol7ron - Monday, June 29, 2009 - link

    I thought that users who purchased a computer w/ Vista (or Vista itself) during 2009 would receive an automatic free upgrade to Win7. Was this reported wrong? Reply
  • mcnabney - Tuesday, June 30, 2009 - link

    You are wrong.

    Most vendors that want to sell you a Vista PC, right now, will offer you a free upgrade to 7 voucher. Purchases before June will receive nothing for free. You can't hear it right now, but that is the sound of Microsoft giving you the finger and eagerly anticipating your upgrade purchase to add a little more cash to their huge money pile.
    Reply

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