Microsoft Slashes Price of Windows 7 Professional

Dennis Faas's picture

Microsoft is offering a whopping 50 per cent discount on the Professional edition of Windows 7. It's an attempt to gain ground among smaller businesses, some of whom need more features than the home user but aren't big enough for large-scale licensing.

The firm has announced that customers of its "Open Value Subscription" licensing scheme will get upgrades to Windows 7 Professional for half-price until the end of June. They'll also qualify for a 50 per cent discount on Office 2010.

About: Open Value Subscription

"Open Value Subscription" is aimed at small and medium businesses (those with 5 to 500 employees) and allows customers to get bulk discounts on Microsoft software while still allowing flexibility over exactly what products they use and in what quantity.

That's in contrast to the licensing deals for larger businesses which usually involve paying a flat per-machine rate, regardless of which software is installed on each individual machine. (Source:

Professional Edition Bridges Consumer-Enterprise Gap

In comparison to Home Premium (which is effectively the standard consumer edition), the Professional edition of Windows 7 adds features such as file encryption, a Windows XP emulator for running older applications, and some limited control over the software employees run on a corporate network. It also allows the system to run through Windows Server.

However, Professional doesn't include some of the features available in the Enterprise edition, such as running virtual machines (which allows multiple users to use the same central computer simultaneously as if they had separate machines, cutting hardware costs), or the BitLocker system for encrypting entire drives.

Professional Pre-Installed On New Machines

Microsoft has been putting more effort into marketing the Professional edition with Windows 7, acknowledging it didn't serve the small business sector well with Vista.

MS, has however, struck several deals with manufacturers to have them sell new PCs with the Professional edition pre-installed. That's designed to appeal to firms that want more advanced features but only buy new machines on a one-off basis when they get a new employee or need to replace an old computer.

The firm believes the Windows XP mode will be a selling point for companies that gave Vista a miss and so have never needed to replace XP-only applications. Removing that headache could persuade small businesses to make the leap to Windows 7 now, rather than wait until failing hardware leaves them no alternative. (Source:

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