Most smart IT pros know that a business-class version of Windows is worth an extra hundred bucks or so.
But many small businesses still cut corners by buying low-end PCs loaded with home editions of the operating system -- a practice Microsoft seems to be trying to snuff out with Windows Vista, drawing the ire of at least one PC vendor.
vnunet.com reports this morning that Acer is complaining about Vista's pricing structure, and the fact that many key features -- most notably the hip Aero interface -- are missing in Vista Basic. In the XP world, many small businesses have gotten along quite happily without Active Directory, but how will users react to not having a Widgets bar on their desktop?
At least one analyst quoted by vnunet says that Microsoft's new pricing scheme simply closes a "loophole" that some low-cost PC vendors, such as Acer, have been using to attract market share. We'd add that current trends in hardware purchases have tended toward lower-end systems -- a spending trend Redmond and its big OEM partners hope to reverse with the hardware-hungry Vista.
Earlier reports about the complicated XP to Vista upgrade path, which will allow XP Pro users to upgrade cleanly only to high-end versions of Vista, confirm that Redmond wants businesses to use only business editions of its OS.