KUALA LUMPUR: Microsoft Malaysia Sdn Bhd is cutting the prices for its Windows Home Basic and Home Premium editions, effective immediately.
While the software giant does not set a standard retail price for its products, users can expect to see reductions of 10% to 50%, depending on how they acquire the operating system.
Microsoft Malaysia Client Business Group director K.T. Ng said the price reductions are to keep Vista prices in line with constantly falling PC hardware prices.
Five years ago, Windows cost some 12% to 15% of the total price of a PC. "To keep that ratio now, we have to reduce our prices too," he said.
Ng said lower prices will encourage customers to upgrade from the Vista Home Basic Edition to the Vista Home Premium Edition, which provides additional features like automated defences against malware, better security, the Windows Aero desktop, and Windows Media Centre capabilities.
The price reductions will also encourage consumers to have original versions of Windows Vista installed on their PCs. This will give them access to the Service Pack updates that improve system performance and protection from security attacks.
"A year ago, only about half the PCs in Malaysia had an original copy of Windows installed. Now we're up to about 60% original Windows, and by the end of the year we hope to achieve 65%," Ng said.
He said Malaysia Is the only country in Asia where these price reductions are available, not only through vendors of internationally branded PCs but also through local PC vendors and white-box system builders' PCs.
"We want to support the local system builders' expertise. They form a large part of the local PC market," Ng said. The only other country where Microsoft is doing this is South Africa, he added.
However, the price reduction does not apply to the Windows Vista Business and Vista Ultimate Editions, Ng said. "These Editions are mostly deployed in the commercial environments, and our price cuts are intended for home and personal users," he explained.
Microsoft Malaysia also announced new channels for getting the Service Pack 1 updates for Vista.
SP1 has been included with Windows Vista preinstalled in new PCs since March, but is also available free to licensed users of the launch version of Vista.
Currently, those with a licensed copy can download SP1 from Windows Update, or from the Microsoft Download Centre. But from May 1, they can also go to www.microsoft.com/malaysia to get SP1.
Or they can call 1-800-88-6295 and Microsoft will mail them a DVD with the SP1 updates.
"This is an option if you are facing bandwidth problems," Ng said.
The SP1 updates fixes some bugs remaining from the launch version of Windows Vista and improves system performance, helping notebook batteries last as much as 10% longer, Ng claimed.
These updates also improve file-transfer performance by 30% to 70%, he said. SP1 will also be included in retail packs sold after April 8, Ng added.