Win8 to include personal license for DIY system builders

Microsoft has added a new user license for Windows 8. Dubbed the Personal Use License for System Builders, this license is designed for folks who build their own PCs or who want to run Win8 in a virtual machine. It’s the first time Microsoft has acknowledged DIY system builders formally. With previous versions of Windows, enthusiasts have had to spring for the full retail version or use an "OEM" flavor meant for vendors who sell pre-build systems, not individuals who build their own.

ZDnet has snippets of the EULA defining the new Windows license. Microsoft has reportedly simplified this user-agreement document, replacing the legalese with "simple, easy-to-understand language." It’s about time.

OEM copies of Windows have traditionally been cheaper than retail-boxed versions, but Microsoft hasn’t revealed specifics about Win8 pricing just yet. Let’s hope the usual OEM discount extends to the personal-use license. ZDNet reckons Windows 8 will cost less than its predecessor overall and that the personal-use and upgrade licenses will be inexpensive because Microsoft plans to sell them directly to consumers, sans retail packaging.

We already know Microsoft will be offering $40 Windows 8 Pro upgrades for a limited time after the OS’s release. A "source familiar with Microsoft’s plans" quoted by The Verge claims the full version of the Win8 Pro will cost $70 until January 31, after which the price will shoot up to $200. For reference, retail copies of Windows 7 Pro have a $300 list price and are available for as little as $265 right now. The OEM version costs about half as much.

Comments closed
    • WaltC
    • 7 years ago

    As I understand it, Win8 Pro is equivalent to Win7 Ultimate, as Win8 Pro is the most complete package available for purchase. With Win7 I opted for the Home Premium retail upgrade “Family Pack” for $150 for three licenses, as it was by far the best deal going. But for Vista, I paid $249 for one retail upgrade license for Vista Ultimate!

    This is a watershed for Microsoft–about time the company started per-copy pricing inline with the size of the market. ~$200 is 1980’s market-size pricing, and is just begging the pirates to beat a path to your door as you are doing little except subsidizing pirates–think of the legal bills Microsoft has to incur just to police piracy at home and abroad, simply because of those high per-copy pricing levels. Selling the “Ultimate” version of Win8 for $39.99 indicates an awareness that Microsoft is selling into a ~400M machine per-year computer market instead of 6-10M machine per-year market of the 1980’s. Back then you had to capitalize on per-unit pricing because you did not have the volume to do otherwise. Today the ballgame is much different in terms of volume. This won’t eradicate piracy, of course, but it will surely put a large crimp in the value and profit from it, and as a result Microsoft’s total revenue could wind up increasing overall even with a precipitous drop in per-copy pricing.

    However, having taken two steps forward here with respect to pricing, I’d hate to see MS take three steps back and return to the ridiculous model of $200 per copy after the sale. Firstly, it will never fly as it’s impossible to un-ring the $40 bell for Win8 Pro pricing Microsoft will establish on Oct. 26th, and secondly such an ill-conceived move would probably escalate piracy among the incensed portion of the market that did not cash in during the $40 sale. I’m hoping the threat of $200 pricing is there only to dramatically accelerate the uptake of Win8 Pro during the first 90 days it is available, and that afterwards Microsoft will relent and go no higher than an $89.95 retail MSRP for the Win8 Pro upgrade. Better yet, stick to the sale pricing for Win8 Pro and see how that goes. We’ll see.

      • HisDivineOrder
      • 7 years ago

      They didn’t price it low because of their recognition that pirates were ripping them off mostly because of their high prices. That didn’t change their minds in the past and they aren’t cognizant of it now. No, they dropped the price because of all the negative press revolving around Windows 8 and, at least partly, because many inside of Microsoft are worried that Windows 8 is going to tank. They are betting the entire company on the changes that Windows 8 is pushing and this is one of those, Doc Brown “WE MUST SUCCEED!” moments.

      To help assure that, they’re willing to lose profits (temporarily) to guarantee future advancement. This is not one of those moments where they have money to burn, time to waste, and can have another Vista Incident. Windows 8 must be a success, it must be unqualified, it must be undeniable, and it must be rapid. They need Windows App Store to be fully armed and operational ASAP because they are already well behind their competitors in every space (smartphone, tablet) except conventional PC’s. They need PC’s to help catapult them to equal standing in app stores and they’re willing to inconvenience PC users if they have to in order to make that happen. They’ve already tried having the smartphone build the app store twice and it’s failed both times spectacularly. This time, they’re using their PC dominance to build the app store and then have the phone come in its wake to coast to relevance. All other concerns are secondary.

      Given all the horrible word of mouth from a lot of places, Windows 8 had every chance of being ignored in favor of just more Windows 7. And that’s the worst thing in the world for MS to endure. They can’t just remove Windows 7 from the marketplace without that, too, causing even more negative word of mouth. Look at what happened when Dell went back to XP from Vista after pushback from MS was overcome.

      So the only way to guarantee that is to drop Windows 8’s pricing. I’m sure they intend to make it up by charging $40 per release (roughly per year) in a similar fashion to how Apple handles OS X updates. The key difference is that Apple charges you one time for an upgrade and you can upgrade all your machines with the updated OS X. MS is charging you per license which is roughly per machine. It’ll wind up costing more for someone who owns just one PC (latest OS X was $19.99, no?) and a lot more for someone who owns more than one PC.

      But Apple sells you hardware and offers you updates. MS outright sells you OS’s, so the difference in how they’re treating updates is unsurprising. Apple’s moved on from worrying about the OS sales giving them huge profits because they’ve got big money in other things. MS is more limited and, though they were once bigger, it seems those days are long past.

      MS’s transformation into IBM is almost complete.

        • Malphas
        • 7 years ago

        You’re completely delusional. Every new PC is going to come with Windows 8 pre-installed. The upgrade/retail market is nowhere near as important. Windows 8 isn’t going to have the same hardware and compatibility issues that the XP to Vista transition had, and the performance and reliability are all improved in 8 over 7, so really the only issue here again is Metro, which your average consumer isn’t going to care about after the first half hour of getting used to it.

          • burntham77
          • 7 years ago

          MS could help the Start screen issue somewhat with a good tutorial that fires up during the initial install.

            • Malphas
            • 7 years ago

            Agreed. I’d imagine they probably will as well, or at the very least OEM’s will cook up one of their own.

    • Deanjo
    • 7 years ago

    Unless it freakouts with every motherboard and processor change then it maybe worthwhile otherwise I see no real advantage over OEM versions.

      • demani
      • 7 years ago

      Isn’t the point that it is now the same license as the OEM version?

        • just brew it!
        • 7 years ago

        If it’s the same then what’s the point of even having it?

          • Deanjo
          • 7 years ago

          Exactly.

      • internetsandman
      • 7 years ago

      I’m confused, do you mean those freak-outs would make the DIY license worthwhile over the OEM license, or if the DIY license accounts for people who upgrade their systems?

      I think an allowance on perhaps a single component change every few months (GPU, CPU, motherboard, although that’s a bit trickier) as long as it can tell that all other hardware remained identical after the swap, would be very attractive for DIY’s, even if the license does cost slightly more than OEM

        • Deanjo
        • 7 years ago

        I mean that it would be worthwhile that the OS didn’t make you go through a song and dance to reactivate it. There should be zero hardware check or at least just a prompt that says “would you like to authorize this system to use your key?” and boom done. If you are at all familiar with iTunes think of it as how you would authorize and deauthorize devices in it.

          • internetsandman
          • 7 years ago

          Come to think of it that would be a great idea, and perhaps a prompt or option to disable your previous hardware spec in order to allow for a future upgrade

      • superjawes
      • 7 years ago

      Perhaps they’ll do a sort of “online verification” that ties the license to a person rather than the machine? That might allow a situation where a DIY user could migrate the license wherever he or she wants (so long as Windows is completely removed from the old machine).

      Not sure exactly how much that would help, though, as you would have to completely replace the OS or repurpose your old machine.

    • adampk17
    • 7 years ago

    Microsoft Lately: Welcome to the more friendly.

      • Chrispy_
      • 7 years ago

      Forcing change is not friendly. There have been a couple of world wars over that basic premise.

      I know nobody is forcing people to use W8, but at the same time W8 users now have to do things the Microsoft way, whether they want to or not. What happened to the two decades of UI flexibility that we’ve taken for granted all these years?

        • derFunkenstein
        • 7 years ago

        so stick with Win7 or Win XP or Win 95 or any number of other Windows versions that people cried foul over.

    • Bauxite
    • 7 years ago

    Given the price of the entry level technet account these days (200 to start, 150/yr after) its like burning cash in a trash barrel if you buy retail windows….$265 “on sale” = you crazy.

    The OS keys usually have 10 activations, and the entry level subscription nets you 2 of most versions of windows. (you used to get way way more until the scammers started reselling keys to unsuspecting victims)

    Retrieved keys stay valid when you cancel, so if you want just renew on years that major upgrades come out. Although they usually have something coming out every couple months anyways…

    OEM licenses are legally locked to 1 system, important to know if you have upgrade-itis.

    Technet is a no brainer if want to keep as little as 2-3 self-built computers up to date. It quickly becomes cheaper than OEM if you want any other MS software. (cough office cough) Also right now you could be installing the exact same Windows 8 RTM iso instead of waiting for it to come out in a store pressed on a disc 😉

    I run various flavors of unix as well, but a 150/yr “Microsoft Tax” is not much for anyone in the IT field to be able to run it all at home. (plus, you might be able to deduct it)

      • Flying Fox
      • 7 years ago

      Technet’s licenses are usually for “training and marketing purposes” only. If you are using them for your day-to-day system, you are kind of in “production”. Of course, has anyone been audited?

        • Bauxite
        • 7 years ago

        I think you’re talking about action pack licenses:

        “The software provided with TechNet Subscriptions is designed for hands-on IT Professionals to evaluate Microsoft software and plan deployments.”

        I dunno about the rest of you, but I’m always evaluating windows, and its still never quite good enough 🙂 hence the various *nix boxes.

      • RedKnight
      • 7 years ago

      I don’t know if long-time subscribers will have some sort of grandfather clause, but they did make some changes to technet last month:

      [url<]http://technet.microsoft.com/en-ie/subscriptions/ms772427.aspx#qanda[/url<] Notably, keys now expire if subscription is cancelled or expires.

        • sweatshopking
        • 7 years ago

        the keys expire, but windows doesn’t stop working. activated windows continues.

          • RedKnight
          • 7 years ago

          Ah, I see, thanks for the clarification

        • Bauxite
        • 7 years ago

        They have grandfathered in various things over time, an added incentive to keep a “classic” subscription going. I still have a lot of enterprise keys and 10 keys for most OS types from the first change a few years back, its been handy enough that the “yearly MS tax” was worth it.

        The keys have always “expired” (activation has always been a live check) but the systems do not deactivate, this is not a new thing from July. It takes a pretty major change (motherboard is the usual) to get windows to force a reactivation though.

          • RedKnight
          • 7 years ago

          Good to know, thanks for this additional info

      • axeman
      • 7 years ago

      I’ve never known Microsoft to deny activation of an OEM license as long as it was only in use on one PC, but yeah, it’s *supposed* to be only for the PC that it was originally shipped with. Honestly, they can’t enforce that, since with white-box PC the motherboard may even be swapped out for another vendor’s model due to failure (mom and pop shop replaces MSI board with Asus, etc.)

      • WaltC
      • 7 years ago

      [quote<]Also right now you could be installing the exact same Windows 8 RTM iso instead of waiting for it to come out in a store pressed on a disc ;)[/quote<] Who said anything about a disk? I'm going to download it from MS for $39.99 on or about OCt. 26th, and make my own disk...;) I'm already running the RP version of Win8 in a dual-boot scenario with Win7--so I'm not in a hurry for Win8. [quote<]I run various flavors of unix as well, but a 150/yr "Microsoft Tax" is not much for anyone in the IT field to be able to run it all at home. (plus, you might be able to deduct it)[/quote<] Well, for Windows 7 I bought the 3-license family pack for $150, at retail. But you do have a point, no doubt about that! It's amazing that I just forget about it every year...my son doesn't...;) Thanks for reminding me!

    • drfish
    • 7 years ago

    They sure are trying hard.

    I have to admit, after installing the RTM version on my most heavily used computer over the weekend I adjusted rather quickly.

      • BIF
      • 7 years ago

      Yes, they are trying very hard. Massive price cuts, at least initially.

      I had a week’s head-start on you with the RP and then added the RTM on Saturday morning. I too adjusted quickly, though not without a lot of initial wailing and gnashing of teeth. I think I scared away several coyotes and male alleycats…

        • sweatshopking
        • 7 years ago

        it’s actually a decent OS, learning curve aside.

          • derFunkenstein
          • 7 years ago

          So was DOS, learning curve aside. 😉

            • sweatshopking
            • 7 years ago

            sure, and we all happily used it for years.

            • Meadows
            • 7 years ago

            And you will likewise use W8 for years. “Happily” aside.

            • sweatshopking
            • 7 years ago

            i’m happy with it now. and i’ll probably use it for a year or two till 9 comes out.

            • BobbinThreadbare
            • 7 years ago

            I never happily used DOS.

            Stupid loading into high memory and irqs

            • Malphas
            • 7 years ago

            Except it wasn’t actually. DOS was knocked together in a hurry and clearly inferior to other operating systems around that time (Unix, CP/M, OS/2, etc.). The NT 6.x kernel on the other hand (the kernel driving Vista, 7, and 8) is actually quite solid and on par with the competition for once. Of course people are to busy crying about minor details like having to click a mouse button to get into the 9x style desktop instead of Metro to realise this.

    • sweatshopking
    • 7 years ago

    sounds cool
    first.

      • torquer
      • 7 years ago

      *insert obligatory anti microsoft/pro unix comment here*

        • Majiir Paktu
        • 7 years ago

        *counterargument based on DX and enterprise adoption of MS products*

          • torquer
          • 7 years ago

          *insert sarcasm filter reminder here*

          I’m surprised I’ve only been downrated twice so far. Of course after Abrasion’s meltdown in the other thread I have a new bar set.

      • BobbinThreadbare
      • 7 years ago

      This does sound cool.

      Now if only they could come up with a way for me to want Win8 😉

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