Microsoft Hikes Support Prices For Windows XP, Office XP

According to information posted on Microsoft's Web site, the per-incident support cost for all Windows users is now $59. Before Jan. 30, when Microsoft released the retail version of Vista, the support cost for users of Windows XP and older versions of the operating system was $39 per incident. That represents a price increase of 51%.

Similarly, phone support for Office users before the launch of Office 2007 -- which also debuted January 30 -- was $35 per incident. The price is now $49 per incident, or 40% higher, regardless of version.

Microsoft's explanation for the new plan will be more familiar to economics professors than computer users. "To more accurately reflect the value of and Microsoft's investment in the service, support incident pricing for Microsoft consumers has been designed through an analysis of competitive offerings and in reference to GDP per capita," said a Microsoft statement.

Vista and Office users will receive the first 90 days of support free of charge as long as they activate the software within 30 days of purchase, said Microsoft.

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