Home Microsoft Opens Online Store in US: Charges More

Microsoft Opens Online Store in US: Charges More

In an attempt to cut down on its carbon footprint, Microsoft last week opened an online store in the U.S, making it the fourth country that offers downloads directly from Microsoft.

Steve Ballmer hinted that an online store was in the works a couple of weeks ago during a speech to developers in Australia, but forgot to mention that consumers would have to pay premium if they wanted to help save the planet.

Microsoft has made billions selling packaged software, and the launch of the new online site brings the number of countries that allow downloads directly from Microsoft to four: US, UK, Germany and Korea.

In addition to shipping the product to your door, the new online store offers ESD (electronic software distribution).

Trevin Chow, Microsoft senior program manager, in a blog post Thursday said: “buying ESD gives you the advantage of perpetual storage of your product keys.” In other words, Microsoft will store your product key so you can use it to reinstall your software at any time. Talking about ESD, he asks: “Convenience anyone?”

Convenient yes, although perhaps he should have asked: “Price anyone?”

We compared the prices Microsoft is offering for some of its products using the list of comparative pricing sites we published yesterday.

Windows Vista Home Premium with SP1

Windows Vista Ultimate with SP1

Office Standard 2007 (Full: Word, Excel, Powerpoint, Outlook)

Also interesting is the note about pricing on the site: Microsoft points out that it will not match the advertised prices of other retailers for the same items.

While you have to be impressed with Microsoft’s effort to give away software to startups, we have to wonder whether having a product key stored in perpetuity is worth the added cost. What do you think?

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