Roughly 24 hours after we broke the story about the upgrade pricing of Windows 7, Microsoft officially announced new information about the availability, upgrades and retail prices of Windows 7.The most interesting news is that the prices should be less than or equal to the Windows Vista, and buyers who pre-order their copies will have more then a 50% discount from the regular price.

Buyers in the US are able to preorder upgrade from Windows XP or Vista to Windows 7 Home Premium for only $49 or to Windows 7 Professional for $99 [depending on the version of operating system they're upgrading from]. That offer will be not just time limited, but also impose a limit on the number of copies.

Regular prices of upgrades in US will be:

  • Windows 7 Home Premium (Upgrade): $119.99
  • Windows 7 Professional (Upgrade): $199.99
  • Windows 7 Ultimate (Upgrade): $219.99

Prices for FULL versions:

  • Windows 7 Home Premium (Full): $199.99
  • Windows 7 Professional (Full): $299.99
  • Windows 7 Ultimate (Full): $319.99

As we can see these prices are roughly 20% lower from Windows Vista prices [Vista Home Premium in US retails for $239].

The situation will change in Europe, a continent that insists on being treated "special": due to decisions brought forward by the European Comission, Microsoft will deliver special versions of Windows 7 – without an integrated browser or a media player; those versions will be marked with “E” and "N". Because the version canot be upgraded from existing version of Vista and XP, Microsoft will offer FULL versions of Windows 7 at upgrade prices. Yes, you’ve read correctly – Europeans are finally going to get something better than its US bretheren, an interesting twist of fate.

Official release dates for Windows Vista is October 22nd [for the initial 14 language version], and October 31th for other 21 languages. Starting today [Friday], system manufacturers can offer "Free Windows 7 Upgrade" program – buyers of new computers with installed versions of Vista, get a free upgrade to Windows 7. This will help Microsoft for the Back-To-School shopping frenzy, even though we can bet that power users will use those keys to get their hands on Windows 7 as soon as the RTM version hits the Internet – only 3-4 weeks remaining.