Robert McLaws: Windows Edition

Blogging about Windows since before Vista became a bad word

The AP's Windows Cost Analysis Is Wrong

One of the big news items of yesterday was an Associated Press article which did an extremely barebones comparison of the price of Windows Vista vs Windows 95. For only having 114 words, it had a very small inaccuracy that make the comparison WAY off base.

I'll quote the article in its entirety, then point out the problems.

Some numbers behind Microsoft Corp.'s evolution from Windows 95 to this month's consumer release of Windows Vista:

Common retail price for Windows 95: $89.95. For Vista: Depends on user configuration. Upgrading a PC from Windows XP would cost as little as $99 for Vista Home Basic edition, up to $259 for Vista Ultimate. Suggested retail prices for those versions range from $199 to $399.

Number of lines of code in Windows 95: 11.2 million. In Vista: 50 million is a commonly cited figure, but Microsoft refuses to confirm that officially.

Approximate number of Windows 95 programmers: 200. For Vista: More than 2,000, according to one Microsoft developer's blog, but Microsoft also won't confirm that.

First off, Windows 95 Full retailed for $209, while the Upgrade version retailed for $109. I don't know where they got their numbers from, but I got mine from the original press releases. $20 is a big difference if a consumer is going to compare the upgrade price of 95 to the upgrade price of Vista. Second, why would you mention the full version prices if you didn't mention them for Windows 95?

Maybe it's because the AP doesn't want Vista to sell well, as I suggested a couple days ago. They're more interested in the Steve Jobs circle-jerk. Well, instead of half-assed reporting like the Associated Press, I've gone the extra mile for Windows consumers out there, and put together an in-depth comparison of the cost of Windows over the last two decades. I've been working on it for about a month now, and I hope to have the first part online by this evening.

So stay tuned :). It will change the way you think about Windows.

(PS: I'm pretty sure more than 2,000 developers worked on Vista, since that's only 3% of their workforce... but who am I to split hairs?)



  • JoeM said:

    When you get that up I will link it on my site.

    January 24, 2007 11:56 AM
  • bluvg said:

    "more interested in the Steve Jobs circle-jerk."

    You have a unique way of putting things. ;)  I'd like to see *that* quoted in an AP-response article!

    Nice catch on the Windows 95 pricing (not to mention they didn't talk at all of the much more common OEM pricing).  The more I read from mainstream press outlets, the more I feel like I can't trust anything they say.  They're the 4th branch of government and the thought police.  It wouldn't be so bad if it weren't for the prevailing notion that the press are the ones we're supposed to trust, the watchdogs.  

    Keep it up. :)

    January 24, 2007 12:15 PM
  • davidacoder said:

    Also, make sure to account for inflation in your calculation. With more than 10 years between the two releases that makes a significant difference. There is a very nice consumer price index calculator on the site of the bureau of labor statistics to convert between prices in different years ( Just an example: The equivalent of the $209 in 1995 in today's prices is $276, i.e. charing that price today for Windows would mean that the real price of the product stayed the same. Quite a difference, right? :)

    January 25, 2007 6:21 AM
  • anonymous said:

    Considering the "Ultimate" editions available at retail:

                             Retail          Upgrade         Server retail         Server upgrade price

    Windows 95          209               109                     -                                  -

    Windows 98,98SE  209               109

    Windows NT         238                 ?                    1129

    Windows 2000      319     219 from 9x     1199, 3999 (AdvancedS)         599, 1999

                                         149 from NT    

    Windows Me        209               109

    Windows XP         299                199

    Windows Vista     399                 259

    January 27, 2007 9:06 AM
  • JoeM said:


    January 27, 2007 4:03 PM
  • JoeM said:


    Basic is cheaper then 95 was,   Premium is $50 more for upgrade, and $30 more for Full.  Price of inflasion.  I don't see the problem?

                                                           FULL                Upgrade

    Windows Vista Home Basic                 199.99               99.99

    Windows Vista Home Premium           239.99              159.99

    Where are you getting your numbers?

    January 27, 2007 4:08 PM
  • The AP's Windows Cost Analysis Is Wrong - Robert McLaws: Windows Edition

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