Now I know that 500 AUD isn't worth $500 USD...
But I still find it difficult to understand how someone could justify spending that much on an operating system.
I know I wouldn't spend $327 on it.
At present the Oz dollar buys 65c USD$, so if we want/need an OS that's priced at $327 US, we gotta pay $499 Oz bucks or go without. It's the same with all PC related stuff, hardware and software, we always pay a higher price than those in the US to begin with, marked up by import costs and the gov't getting its cut, and then the exchange rates add even more dollars again. So yeah, I'm hoping that MS puts a reasonable and affordable price on Win 7 for the US market, otherwise it will likely be out of my reach for quite some time, given domestic markups and the exchange rate as it is. I certainly hope it isn't because I am using the beta, quite like it as an OS, and would like to have the full release when it becomes available.
Yes, we are living in difficult economic times, but I can't believe that some are saying that they should get Win 7 for nothing because they bought Vista. MS is going through the same economic crisis we are and can not afford to simply give it away because someone paid for an earlier product. And it doesn't matter that Win 7 is based on Vista, there have been enough improvements with speed, file copy/move and to the GUI to justify some charge, whether you purchased Vista or not.
I do agree, however, that MS would sell more units/licenses if it were to begin at $100 - $150 for entry level editions, up to $250 for the Ultimate edition. What's that old saying, it's easier to get a dollar from a million people than it is to get a million dollars from just a few. Same applies to Win 7, the more reasonable the price the greater the sales... it keeps the customers happy and thus is good for business.
Furthermore, before I go, those XP users going the upgrade path should not have to pay more than an upgrading Vista user, now way no how. It had already been decided that Vista was not ready and that it was overpriced, and XP users should not be penalised for rejecting something which almost universally was considered premature.
I personally went to Vista via an OEM in a newly built rig and quite liked it, moreso after SP1, and I have no objection to paying the same as a XP user and vice versa. Shoot, I don't care if a Win 95 user can uprade for the same price, because it's not about what anyone else pays, but about my personal use and enjoyment of the product I purchased.
This: "I'm a Vista user and should get it for nothing" crap comes across like MS owes people or something, and that certainly is not the case. As with any MS product, Vista's purchase price included a component for future development, and whether or not it was quite ready, its release helped fund the development of the soon to be released Win 7. That's it, so either buy Win 7 and be happy, or don't buy it and move on.