PC maker fumes at Vista price hike

Jon Honeyball Barry Collins
26 Oct 2006

Leading PC manufacturer Acer has accused Microsoft of ratcheting up the cost of Windows by effectively forcing consumers to opt for the Premium version of Vista.

Acer claims that the Vista Home Basic - the new entry-level Windows - is so poorly featured that consumers will simply reject it. "The new [Vista] experience you hear of, if you get Basic, you won't feel it at all," said Jim Wong, senior corporate vice president at Acer. "There's no [Aero] graphics, no Media Center, no remote control."

Wong claims that Microsoft's own marketing machine has undermined Vista Home Basic. "Right at the beginning they started talking about the experience of [Vista Home] Premium. Premium is the real Vista," he said.

Furthermore, Wong claims that the manufacturer's licence for Vista Home Premium is 10% more expensive than for XP Home. "We have to pay more but users are not going to pay more," Wong said. As a result, he claims the total cost of building a PC has risen by 1-2%, which is a significant increase in such a low-margin business.

Acer isn't the first PC manufacturer to complain about the inadequacies of Vista Home Basic. Other OEMs, including Evesham Technology, have told PC Pro that they have no plans to ship that version on their PCs as they feel there will be no consumer demand.

A Microsoft spokesperson said: "Our OEM partners will offer PCs configured with the various editions of Windows Vista to meet customer needs. They are free to make their own determinations about which Windows Vista editions they will offer, and to set the prices they will charge for their PCs.

"Microsoft is committed to keeping prices low for customers, and Windows Vista editions will be offered at the same prices as comparable Windows XP versions.

"Windows Vista Home Basic is a great choice for consumers who want to simply use a PC to browse the internet, correspond with friends and family over e-mail or perform basic document creation and editing tasks. Windows Vista Home Basic will deliver a safer, more reliable and more productive computing environment."

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