San Francisco -- Popular retailer site Amazon over the weekend said that sales of Microsoft's three-license Windows 7 Family Pack will end next week, according to Amazon, or once they have run out of stock or on December 31st, whichever occurs soonest.
Microsoft began offering the packs in October, saying it was for a "limited-time only," but did not specified an end date. The family pack has been gratefully received by many households since its release, It entitled consumers three upgrade licenses from Windows XP or Vista to Windows 7 Home Premium, which they can install on computers in the household for just $150.
Amazon's Family Pack page now says: "Available to purchase until December 31, or while supplies last."
Currently, Amazon priced the Family Pack at $125.
If Amazon's closing date is precise, Microsoft will have retained the Family Pack on the market for almost 13 weeks, more than twice as long as in 2009, when the software maker pulled the family pack from stores after only 6 weeks without warning much to the anger of many consumers.
Many frustrated consumers said that they had missed the offer, and some bloggers labeled the sudden disappearance a "dumb move" or pegged Microsoft as a Scrooge for dropping the deal before the holidays. Users saved over $200 by purchasing the 3 Windows 7 licenses as a family pack than if they were to purchase 3 separate Windows 7 licenses.
So far, Microsoft has not made an official announcement to end Family Pack. But, as of late Friday, as it still continue to sell the package through its e-store, which reiterated it was "a limited time offer and subject to stock on hand." However, after some inquiries were made to Microsoft, they confirmed that the Windows 7 family pack will in fact discontinue to be sold on the 31st of December.
The Family Pack has been very popular, and it held the number 8 spot on Amazon's software bestseller inventory, apart from other programs such as Dragon Naturally Speaking, Office 2010, TurboTax and Apple's upgrade to Mac OS X 10.6, aka Snow Leopard, and it will be sad to see it go.
Windows 7 accounted for 19.7% of the world's usage portion, according to data from Web measurement tracker Net Applications. That was a progress of 1.4 percentage points over October, and the third-largest one-month gain in 2010. So if you are planning about grabbing the Windows 7 Family Pack, now is the time to do it, and do it quick before stocks run out. We are not sure if Microsoft will ever run this promotion again so it is better to take advantage of it now and save yourself over $200.
Overall, with Amazon's price, the Family Pack saves buyers $205 as compared to the retailer's price of three separate Windows 7 Home Premium upgrade licenses, and $235 off Microsoft's list price for the same three licenses.
Microsoft did not immediately respond to a request for verification last weekend that Family Pack sales will end Dec. 31, as Amazon indicated.