According to all reviews Windows 7 is going to be well accepted. However, there is still one barrier to that acceptance and this is the price. The following proposal is based on the following goals for Windows 7 acceptance.
Let's face it, Vista was a retail flop. Even inclusion rates on new PCs was disappointing. With PC vendors like Dell and HP offering "downgrades" to Windows XP even more than a year after Vista shipped it is apparent. As a mater of fact the bad Vista karma was one of the reasons I decided to buy an iMac to experience the "other side."
It is my opinion that you should price the upgrade version of Windows 7 at $49.
Here is how I envision this would work.
This proposal makes buying and upgrading to Windows 7 simple. I only have to purchase a single upgrade for $49 to move from XP or Vista to Windows 7. Once I am running Windows 7 I only have to do an in place upgrade for $49 per-level. Your customers will be able to understand this and it should simplify the whole overwhelming aspect of the multiple sku's.
So, lets look at some examples of this pricing. Let's assume I am running Windows XP Home Premium on my home machine. I want to upgrade to Windows 7 Professional. I easily know that it will cost me $49 to upgrade to Windows 7 Home Premium and $49 to upgrade that after installed to Windows 7 Professional. So that upgrade will cost my $98. Very simple and easy for the customer to figure out.
Now, how you implement this is up to you. If you want to charge the $98 in one transaction would be great. Perhaps the way it works is that the Windows 7 RTM is free to d/l. Once you install it you have a 90 day free trial. The installer will know what pervious version you had and when you launch the "purchase" screen it will present the skus and prices. For example, if I install Windows 7 Trial on my Windows XP Home Premium the purchase screen will list options like this:
Once again, easy, simple, understandable, affordable. Lets face it, many people have multiple machines. They WANT to upgrade all of them. But, if you price the upgrade at $199 they just won't do it... or they will pirate it.
You have made a great story for corporate customers by providing XP mode and taking away their last barrier for acceptance. Please give as much consideration to the private and home users also.
Thanks for reading my proposal. If you agree with me that this is affordable, simple and makes sense please comment below to show your support for this pricing idea.