Looks like I'm the first one to catch this. Microsoft put up a Q&A on PressPass with Brad Brooks. He's the CVP of Windows Consumer Product marketing, and he announced that Microsoft is dropping the price of retail-packaged product (RPP) versions of Windows Vista when the SP1 version hits the shelves in a few weeks. From the interview:
PressPass: What did you announce today?
Brooks: Today we announced a variety of price reductions for copies of Windows Vista sold on retail shelves. In developed markets, the price changes will most notably impact upgrade retail versions of the new editions we introduced in 2007 -- Windows Vista Home Premium and Ultimate editions. In emerging markets, we are combining full and upgrade Home Basic and Home Premium versions into full versions of these editions and instituting price changes to meet the demand we see among first-time Windows customers who want more functionality than is available in current Windows XP editions. In addition, we are also adjusting pricing on Windows Vista Ultimate in emerging markets to be comparable to price changes developed market customers will see.
These price changes will take effect globally with the retail release of Windows Vista Service Pack 1 later this year, though some markets will see reduced prices sooner as a result of promotions many of our partners already are driving, such as Amazon.com in the United States.
Hopefully soon Microsoft will detail exactly what these changes will be. Maybe Long will dig up a pricing sheet from Microsoft France or something. UPDATE: Ina fried at News.com has the details. Windows Vista Ultimate drops 27% from $299 to $219, and Home Premium drops 19% from $159 to $129. I think this is great news, and will make Vista a bit more accessible. It also makes Vista Home Premium the same price as Apple's OSX 10.5, which might explain that particular price point.
For more, read the whole release.