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Microsoft cuts cost of Chinese Windows

Microsoft Corp's Chinese version of Windows 7, which will be released in October, will cost from 399 yuan (US$58.60), the cheapest Windows yet in China, the US-based software vendor said yesterday.

The Windows 7 Home Basic Chinese version at 399 yuan is 20 percent lower than the price of the comparable Vista version. The Windows 7 Home Premium, which has more visual effects and multimedia functions, will cost 699 yuan.

"The Windows 7 price will allow more consumers access to authorized software," said Wei Qing, Microsoft China's market director.

Wei encouraged people to obtain Windows 7 with new computers, which would cost consumers even less than in software retail stores.

But Microsoft declined to reveal the cost of pre-installed Windows in a computer - some insiders have estimated it at between 100 to 200 yuan.

Several years ago, Microsoft Windows cost more than 1,000 yuan. Then the company slashed prices in China to tap into the world's No. 2 personal computer market.

PC sales hit 40 million in China last year and more than 90 percent of them were installed with Microsoft Windows, including authorized and pirated copies.

Windows 7 sales will help Microsoft boost revenue, especially after the unpopular Vista, according to analysts.

Vista, which was launched in 2007, was found to be incompatible with lots of software.

Microsoft, based in Redmond, Washington, reported a profit of US$2.98 billion in the fiscal third quarter ended on March 31, compared with US$4.39 billion in the same period the year before.

In January, Microsoft said it would be cutting up to 5,000 jobs, or more than 5 percent of its 96,000 staff, over 18 months, in a bid to save US$1.5 billion a year.



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