It was too good to last. In yet another flip-flop, Microsoft is calling time on the offer for Europeans to get the full version of Windows 7 for the price of the upgrade version. From 1 September, the full and upgrade versions will be offered as separate products, priced in line with the rest of the world.
If, like us, the mere mention of Windows 7 pricing now makes your brain start to leak out of your ears, bear with us as we break it down with a quick gravelly-voiced recap. Previously on the Great Windows 7 Pricing Debacle: Microsoft announced Windows 7 E, a Europe-only version of Windows 7 that didn't include Internet Explorer. This meant there could be no upgrade version, so we were offered the full version of Windows 7 for the lower price the rest of the world paid for a mere upgrade. But then Windows 7 E was axed, so Microsoft has brought back the upgrade version and will be selling both full and upgrade versions from 1 September.
The withdrawal of Windows 7 E means Microsoft will now also be offering a family pack, which allows you to install the operating system on up to three computers. First it was on, then it was off, and now it's back on.
All pre-orders made up to 1 September will be honoured. That means you've got a week to decide whether you want the upgrade version or the full version. If you already have Vista, the upgrade version means you'll be able to upgrade without having to do a clean install. All you have to do is wait until after 1 September, and get the upgrade for around £80 for Home Premium. The price you pay hasn't changed and you've saved yourself some hassle, but you don't get the full version.
If you do want the full version of Windows 7, now is the time to buy it -- especially as for once the UK is getting a better deal than the rest of the world. But on 1 September, the price goes up to £150, so don't hang about.
We're busy confirming these changes with Microsoft. Any questions, stick 'em in the comments, and we'll pose them to the people behind Windows 7.
Update: We've posed your questions to Microsoft, and we can confirm what we initially reported: if you've already pre-ordered, you will receive the full version of Windows 7. If you haven't pre-ordered, you have until 1 September to get the full version for around £80 before it goes up to £150. After 1 September, you will be able to buy the upgrade version for around £80.
The Family Pack will cost £150 for three upgrade licences. There will be no full version Family Pack.