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UK Gets Windows 7 Early To Beat Post Strike

Peter Judge has been involved with tech B2B publishing in the UK for many years, working at Ziff-Davis, ZDNet, IDG and Reed. His main interests are networking security, mobility and cloud

Despite upgrade worries, pre-orders have broken records, and users are reported happy with the early arrival of the new Microsoft offering 

UK users have been getting copies of Windows 7 through the post a day early, to beat the strike by Royal Mail workers, which is crippling postal deliveries in Britain.

Pre-orders for the operating system have broken records at outlets in the UK including Amazon, and it has been widely reported that some shops such as PC World dispatched the new operating system early to beat the UK’s postal strike.

“The launch of Windows 7 has superseded everyone’s expectations, storming ahead of Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows as the biggest grossing pre-order product of all-time at Amazon.co.uk, ” Amazon.co.uk managing director Brian McBride said.

In the last three months, the online retailer sold more copies of the Dan Brown book The Lost Symbol, but has made more money on the new Windows OS.

Meanwhile, DSGi (the group which includes PC World) revealed that the last three weeks of pre-orders for Windows 7 had exceeded a whole year’s worth of Windows Vista sales – a statistic that is impressive even though it compares windows 7 with boxed upgrade Vista copies, not those pre-installed on laptops.

PC World is offering up to £100 trade-in on old laptops when users decide to get a new laptop running Windows 7, it was announced today. Dell has come out strongly in favour of the new operating system, declaring Vista was a “bust”.

Few surprises are expected with the formal launch tomorrow, as the final version of the operating system has been public for months, and has received good reviews. Microsoft is offering it for £30 to students.

The end of support for Windows XP – which Microsoft delayed after user protest (and to allow it to seize the netbook market) – is expected to push users to upgrade to Windows 7, although Microsoft has been criticised for not providing enough easy upgrade options.

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For instance, upgrades from Windows XP are expected to require a wiped disk, and those upgrading are not allowed to change their SKU (for instance, upgrading from Vista Ultimate to Windows 7 Home Premium is not possible).

The Royal Mail strike is widely expected to impact business very seriously over the coming weeks and has already caused many firms to shift their deliveries to other carriers. It could impact the delivery of goods ordered from online sites – as here – but could ultimately boost online delvery of goods, former minister Lord Digby Jones suggested on Monday this week.