Windows 7 Family Pack Still Available At Microsoft Stores

Prospective customers in Southern California had better hurry up, though: The Mission Viejo Microsoft Store only has about 15 Windows 7 Family Packs left, according to a store associate contacted by

The situation is much better at the Scottsdale Microsoft Store, which has "plenty" of Family Packs left, said an associate reached by phone at that location.

Microsoft has been roundly criticized for apparently ending the Windows 7 Family Pack promotion, which consists of three Windows 7 Home Premium upgrade licenses and is more than $200 less than buying individual licenses, just as the holiday shopping season began.

The Windows 7 Family Pack vanished from the Microsoft Store over a week ago and major online retailers quickly sold out their supplies. Since then, smaller retailers have dramatically raised the price of the Windows 7 Family Pack -- one Amazon associate currently has it listed for $279.99 and one eBay auction has listed it for $239.99.

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Microsoft is declining to comment beyond the statement it issued on the matter earlier this week. "The Windows 7 Family Pack was introduced as a limited time offer while supplies last in select geographies. Response has been very positive and in some cases, the offer has sold out," a spokesperson said in an e-mail.

Microsoft VARS were actually glad to see the Windows 7 Family Pack disappear because of the confusion such offers cause in the marketplace. Once customers see a certain price point they tend to expect it going forward, and oftentimes, solution providers are the ones who have to break the bad news to customers. Some VARs have even observed a "shoot the messenger" mentality take hold with customers.

Microsoft has gone to great lengths to generate buzz at its first two retail stores, staging concerts with teen pop singers and hosting prize giveaways, as well as obviously rehearsed 'spontaneous' dance routines.

Of course, the best way to get customers into Microsoft Stores will be to offer products there that can't be found elsewhere. Perhaps that's what Microsoft has in mind by continuing to sell the Windows 7 Family Pack at these locations.