How about you sell your new operating system for under $50? I’ll bet you’ll make as much or more money than selling it for $300 a pop. Really, I think so!
The main reason I’ve not upgraded my personal laptop from XP is not because the hardware can’t handle it. The reason is that I do not want to pay $200+ for the version of Windows Vista that I want (Ultimate). There is not enough compelling reason for me to pay the price for the upgrade. But if the upgrade were $30, or even $50, I might just be inclined to purchase it.
This is one time where Apple is doing it right. I may fuss about the high cost of their hardware, but they have it right when it comes to software. The upgrade to Snow Leopard, which is coming out soon, is just $30. That’s a price almost anyone can swallow, and will quickly and easily be paid by customers.
Microsoft, on the other hand, has to spend much of their time, energy, and programming to try to staunch the bleeding wound that is pirated Windows software. There are so many workarounds, even to their highly-touted Windows Genuine Advantage, that there is no reason to even consider paying $200 or better to upgrade to Vista. I think there would be a lot less piracy of Windows software if the prices were more reasonable than they are. I also think more people would upgrade to a new operating system if the prices were under $50. It is likely that Microsoft would easily make as much as they are now using the higher price tiers, and may make even more as people who didn’t want to upgrade in the first place may be tempted to upgrade due to the phenomenally low price.
Of course they could just make the same amount, but they would also be meeting their goal of seeing genuine copies of Windows on machines, instead of all the pirated and/or “borrowed” copies that are floating around out there now.