Microsoft May Offer Windows 7 'Family Pack'

Microsoft enthusiast Kristan Kenney dug through the licensing agreement for Windows 7 Home Premium and discovered language that suggests Microsoft may offer a family pack of Windows licenses that lets customers install a single copy of Windows 7 on three PCs within a home.

In a Thursday blog post, Kenney quoted the following intriguing tidbit from the Windows 7 Home Premium licensing agreement: "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."

However, the deal is apparently limited to Windows 7 Home Premium since the family pack language isn't found in the licensing agreement for Windows 7 Professional and Windows 7 Ultimate editions, Kenney noted. Microsoft is currently running a promotion in which customers can buy Windows 7 Home Premium for $49.99 and Windows 7 Professional for $99.99 from retailers and the Microsoft Store until July 11.

Several angry Microsoft customers vented on Kenney's blog about Microsoft not being upfront about the family pack offer. "They mention this AFTER I've pre-ordered three copies of the software?" said one poster. "So then people who pre-order at the reduced price are [out of luck] since they aren't offering the family pack yet," wrote another.

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Microsoft's Windows 7 family pack deal will obviously be more attractive if the price is less than the $150 promotional price for three copies for Windows 7 Home Premium. Apple will charge just $29 for customers to upgrade from Leopard, and $49 for a "family pack" of five upgrade licenses. But pre-Leopard upgrades are $199, and given the large number of Microsoft customers that are still using XP, this would be the better comparison point.

Microsoft also offered a family pack deal with Windows Vista, and as some Microsoft bloggers have pointed out, the software giant waited until just before Vista's launch to start publicizing the deal, and only offered it to customers that bought Windows Vista Ultimate through retail. That won't be the case this time, since retailers will only sell Windows 7 Home Premium and Windows 7 Professional.