Back in one of Vista's first delays, the product was pushed outside of the 2006 holiday window. PC manufacturers balked at this, because they knew that nobody would buy a new computer and pay for an XP license when a whole new operating system is right around the corner. Neither side had a good option - Microsoft couldn't sell a flagship that it didn't have, but the delay assured that computer manufacturers were going to have a slow fourth quarter.
The solution? Coupons
. According to what is essentially third-hand but still reliable information, Microsoft has struck a deal with many PC manufacturers to offer coupons to their buyers in the fourth quarter of 2006, when Vista was supposed to be released. The coupons can then be redeemed for a copy of Vista upon its release in first quarter 2007. The arrangement was hammered out back in July, but Microsoft is expected to keep quiet on it until at least October to not harm third quarter sales instead.
The leak has been confirmed inadvertently by at least one company: Ray Chen, President of Compal Electronics, acknowledged the deal in an investor meeting this week. He commented that the availability of both Intel Merom processors and a coupon for Windows Vista would point to a stronger fourth quarter sales than expected, as well as first quarter of 2007.
So, it looks like Bob Cratchit can go ahead and get that Vista ready laptop for Tiny Tim in time for Christmas after all. Awwwwww, Bill Gates saves Michael Dell's Christmas! All sarcasm aside, though, it seems like a wise move by MS when you consider the delays - more computers will be sold, and users will pay for the proper Vista license when they buy it.
Do you have a thought on the coupon plan? Know anybody that might buy a computer for the holidays now, thanks to the news? Let us know your thoughts in our forums
Special thanks to forum moderator cpemma for catching this for us!