The retail pricing for Windows 7 licenses (and product keys), for both Full Packaged Product (FPP) and Upgrade licenses have been made known months earlier. Microsoft does also provide another variant of license, OEM license and product key (see the differences between full retail, upgrade retail, OEM and volume licensing Windows license), which is priced at more attractive and cheaper pricing point.

OEM System Builder License for Windows 7 is meant for packaging or bundling with hardware purchase, or for pre-installation on a new personal computer for resale. OEM System Builder Channel software is normally not available for purchase directly, although on some cases, it’s available for sales through small system builders together with a cheap peripheral or device as a workaround to fulfill license terms. However, end users can also purchase OEM licenses as system builder directly.

Newegg has published the pricing details for OEM version of Windows 7. Three Windows 7 editions’ OEM licenses for system builders are available through Newegg, namely Windows 7 Home Premium, Windows 7 Professional and Windows 7 Ultimate, with both 32-bit (x86) and 64-bit (x64) flavors of same edition having the same price. The prices for Windows 7 OEM licenses are as follow as listed by Newegg:

Windows 7 Home Premium (OEM for System Builder): $99.99 (MSRP: $109.99)
Windows 7 Professional (OEM for System Builder): $134.99 (MSRP: $139.99)
Windows 7 Ultimate (OEM for System Builder): $174.99 ($189.99)

MSRP is manufacturer’s suggested retail price and Newegg is offering a cheaper price of $5 to $15 on each license, which is likely to become the actual retail price.

The OEM price represents up to 55% discount off full version Windows 7 license, or up to 30% off upgrade version Windows 7 license. OEM version of Windows 7 is almost equivalent to full version license of Windows 7, except that OEM license is not transferable to another PC or computer, which mean once it’s installed to a computer, it’s forever stuck and tied to the PC. However, the limitation is imposed via license agreement only, and Microsoft does not put in place any software mechanism to prevent the license to be transferred. And another official restriction is that the OEM license requires user to perform only clean installation (no upgrade from existing OS), though it’s also not enforced strictly. Users also receive no support from Microsoft, who delegates the task to system builders.

Do note that royalty OEMs (Original Equipment Manufacturers) such as HP, Lenovo, Dell, Acer, Geteway, and etc are paying much lower price per Windows 7 license installed on the sold machines, with rumor saying that each copy of Windows 7 installed on sold computer costs only about $50.

More information about Windows 7 can be read here.

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