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by Mike Zazaian September 5, 2006 - 6:24pm, 2 Comments

Candian visitors of Microsoft’s website for the upcoming OS Windows Vista were surprised this morning to see prices for each version in the upcoming Vista lineup.

Windows Vista LogoFor a brief time this morning, users of the Microsoft Canada website were able to select a version of Windows Vista from a drop down list on the site, displaying both features and pricing on each level of the upcoming Vista operating systems. Almost immediately after they were posted, Microsoft removed the prices from the site and issued a press release regarding the incident:

Microsoft inadvertently posted Windows Vista Canadian retail prices on their Web site, and the information has since been removed. There is no new pricing information to share currently but we plan to announce Windows Vista U.S. pricing when we ship Windows Vista RC1, later this quarter.

The lack of a denial here indicates that these will likely be the final prices, but to give themselves legal leeway Microsoft’s keeping their mouths shut. All of the prices provided were in Canadian dollars, and as Microsoft doesn’t use a direct currency conversion to determine product prices in the U.S. and Candadian markets, it’s difficult to estimate exactly what the final U.S. dollar prices will be.

That said, it might be easier to compare current Canadian Windows XP prices to their Vista counterparts to get a good idea of what can be expected for U.S. prices:

FULL versions (all prices Canadian)

Windows Vista Ultimate $499

Windows XP Professional w/SP2 $429

Windows Vista Business $379

Windows Vista Home Premium $299

Windows Vista Home Basic $259

Windows XP Home w/SP2 $259

UPGRADE versions (all prices Canadian)

Windows Vista Ultimate Upgrade $299

Windows XP Professional w/SP2 Upgrade $259

Windows Vista Business Upgrade $249

Windows Vista Home Premium Upgrade $199

Windows Vista Home Basic Upgrade $129

Windows XP Home w/SP2 Upgrade $12

As you can see from the above prices, the tentative price increase between the XP and Vista versions is marginal, if different at all. A 16% increase is seen between the top-level XP Professional and Vista Ultimate, while the Home versions of XP and Vista remain at the same price point of $259 CDN. Based on these prices Ed Bott over at ZDnet has estimated the upcoming prices of Vista as follows:

Windows Vista Ultimate $349/$199

Windows Vista Business $269/179

Windows Vista Home Premium $239/$139

Windows Vista Home Basic $199/$99

While Mac enthusiasts may point out that all of these figures are more expensive than the tentative $129 US release price for Apple’s upcoming Leopard operating system, let’s not forget that there have been five OSX releases since the release of Windows XP, creating a cumulative OSX 10.x.x price point of over $800.