An article on InformationWeek reports that Microsoft is planning for the first time to provide downloadable versions of Windows Vista and Office 2007. From InformationWeek: "Downloadable software has become a standard way for PC users to get Web browsers, anti-spyware apps, file-sharing software and more. But so far, two of the most widely used products in the PC world -- Microsoft's Windows and Office -- have eluded electronic distribution. That's about to change.
Microsoft said Wednesday it plans for the first time to make its new Windows Vista operating system and Office 2007 productivity suite available for downloading by PC users over the Internet on Jan. 30, the day it releases those products to the retail market and computer manufacturers. Microsoft and Circuit City Stores plan to sell what the software company expects to be the most popular versions of Windows and Office for consumers and small business customers on Microsoft's Windows Marketplace site. A Microsoft executive says that while downloading Windows from the Web won't appeal to the majority of PC users, it lets the world's largest software company establish an online beachhead for future sales.
"This is the tip of something we think is going to get much larger," says Bill Mannion, director of marketing for consumers and small businesses in Microsoft's Windows division. "It's not yet what I'd consider mainstream."
To be sure, Microsoft has for years sold downloadable copies of its home finance software, games, and other apps online, and software vendors including Intuit, Symantec, and others offer many of their products for downloading. But until now, Microsoft hasn't considered electronic software distribution to be secure or simple enough for its largest products, Mannion says. The company plans to offer Windows and Office for sale on the Web using technology called digital locker, which can safely store the alphanumeric license "keys" that provide customers with rights to use its products, and resume interrupted downloads."
View: Full article (InformationWeek)