Interesting point he's making. But I wouldn't hold my breath waiting for that to happen.
There's a problem on both sides of the checkout counter with single pricing something that is effectively a subscription service
masquerading as a packaged product. Existing software customers have refused to accept the subscription model, and also expect to be given a significant price break on any new releases.
Then there's also the issue of how to further the adoption cycle of a new release. Most software makers are extremely reluctant to risk doing anything that could be perceived as rewarding the 'late adopters' and 'version skippers.' Single 'versioning' would amount to an amnesty program for dawdlers if they went that route.
So various customer incentive deals have become almost mandatory when trying to convince a customer to spring for an upgrade they (very likely) don't actually need.
And since it's all about customer expectations
, I'm willing to bet that "upgrade" and "pre-order" prices (and disks) are here to stay, no matter what anybody says.
BTW: I'm amazed somebody 'in the biz' (and a CNET editor no less) isn't aware of Paul Thurott's simple workarounds to do a clean install of Win7 using upgrade disks. It's been all over the web, and blogged extensively, so I'm surprised it wasn't mentioned in Rafe's article.
In case anybody missed Thurott's original article, here's the link to the (now updated) how-to:http://www.winsupers...ll_upgrade_media.asp