MS to Offer 3-for-1 Win7 Deal: Report Suggests

Dennis Faas's picture

Microsoft appears set to offer a discount for families wanting to run Windows 7 on multiple machines. The deal has not yet been officially unannounced, but has left some users wondering if they've jumped the gun by already placing their orders for individual copies.

Blogger Kristian Kenney noticed a clause in the licensing agreement for the latest leaked version of Windows 7's Home Premium edition. It reads: "b. Family Pack. If you are a 'Qualified Family Pack User', you may install one copy of the software marked as "Family Pack" on three computers in your household for use by people who reside there. Those computers are the 'licensed computers' and are subject to these license terms." (Source:

More Offers Likely to Follow

The license notes that details of who qualifies are available at a Microsoft webpage, though at the moment this defaults to the company's home page. Microsoft isn't commenting on the story but says more Windows 7 offers will likely follow both before and after its official release date.

Microsoft did run a Family Pack scheme with Vista, though it worked on a different basis and may not give much insight into the Windows 7 scheme. For Vista, anyone buying the retail version of Vista Ultimate (rather than having it pre-installed on a computer) was eligible to install the Home Premium edition on up to two extra machines for a fee of $49.99 per machine.

Price And Availability A Mystery

The two big questions with the Windows 7 scheme are how much it costs, and what people need to do to qualify.

As the scheme is not referred to in licensing agreements for any other editions, it appears to be exclusive to the Home Premium edition which is likely the most popular choice for families. Ed Bott of ZDNet predicts the pricing will be all-inclusive and cost at or just below the $199 Apple charges for its own family pack deals. (Source:

If the deal is indeed all-inclusive, the wording of the agreement suggests users would be getting three copies of Windows 7 for a single fee. One person commenting on Kenney's blog complains that he's already pre-ordered three copies, having been unaware of the deal.

If Bott's prediction is correct, the commenter (who will have paid $150 at the reduced rate for pre-orders) will still come out ahead. But whatever the true situation, the confusing range of Windows 7 editions and the lack of clarity over pricing deals are continuing to leave buyers worried they might pay over the odds.

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