When Microsoft announced the Family three pack for Windows 7, they also said it was a limited time offer. What they did not mention, at the time, was just how ‘limited time’ it was. Well, it appears the limited time offer was just over a month and change. The Family three pack is officially dead, though you can still get it through some Amazon Associates and whatever product, if any, is still in the retail channel.
I cannot help but think this is probably the single worst decision that Microsoft has ever made during its history. Yes, even worse than Microsoft Bob and Windows ME. It is a colossal and, dare I say, bone headed move to make this early in the product life cycle. I can see it in, say, six months but NOT six weeks after introduction. It just blows my mind that they would do this NOW, during one of the biggest selling periods of the year.
Perhaps they chose now BECAUSE it is the biggest selling period of the year. Maybe some bean counters thought it was a good idea. I don’t know and all the company has said is that it was a limited time offer ‘while supplies last.’ Apparently, the supplies are gone. So, they can’t make new product?
I know this: if I had a home with three computers that COULD run the operating system and now I’m faced with upgrades that cost $120 each versus $149 for the three pack, I’m not going to upgrade. I’ll stick with Vista or, heaven help me, XP or I might upgrade one of them. No matter, Microsoft lost money on me now. And if all three of the computers were XP, I might even go Apple. (Well, I might not be as drastic, but others might be.)
This proves, once again, just how out of step this company has become. They have great products, but fail, sometime miserably, at promotion and support. Look at Zune. They have a nice device and a competent eco system for content, but, the one thing that is missing is application support. This device turns out to be a great game player and would do well with other types of applications, but Microsoft has stated they want to concentrate on services and leave the apps to Windows Mobile/CE/Phone or whatever the name of the week is for this dying portable platform. They should let it die any focus on the Zune. It isn’t just devices, though. Look at OneNote and Media Center, two of the best applications they have. Languishing. Why? I can only imagine the same fate awaits Sync, its automotive platform. Good product, heavily promoted (by Ford, I’m guessing) for a short time. Then what?
One can even point to Internet Explorer. Long ago, it was the best browser out there. I’m talking version three or four here. Then, when they finally whipped Netscape, they let it languish. Look what happened. Firefox, Safari and even that browser wannabe called Opera. They all came along and upped IE in many, many areas. IE became a dog. A laughing stock. An avenue for all kinds of bad things. Microsoft’s answer? Internet Explorer 7. IE 7 was OK. It handled standards a bit better. Was more stable and not as prone to holes. Then IE 8. What a pig. I can only hope that IE 9, recently discussed by the company, is truly going to be better.
Microsoft should reconsider the three pack offer and extend it, at least through the next couple of months anyway. Better yet, steal one more idea from the Apple playbook and MAKE IT PERMENANT. They did it with Office. They did it with the now defunct OneCare product. They SHOULD do it with Windows. I’m sure they won’t though. It just makes too much sense and we can’t have that, can we?