Retailers Make Way For Microsoft's New Vista

When Microsoft's new Windows Vista goes on sale Jan. 30, few are expecting the stampedes that greeted new gaming systems last month. And it hasn't helped that the product has gotten mostly tepid reviews: "Worthy, largely unexciting," said The Wall Street Journal recently.

But retailers are keen to make the most of the long-anticipated launch. CompUSA, for example, said yesterday that it would offer a money-back guarantee on "a great Vista experience," as long as customers buy Vista or Microsoft Office 2007 together with installation by CompUSA. Its 230 stores will open at 10 p.m. on Jan. 29, and will begin selling Vista at midnight. (Stores will stay open until 2 a.m.)

The retailer also said it would offer consumers the chance to trade in their old notebooks, and apply the value toward the purchase of a new Windows Vista computer. And beginning Jan. 30, CompUSA will offer in-store installations of Vista for $49.99, and at-home installations for $149.99.

Best Buy is also getting ready for the Vista push. While the company is working with Microsoft on events in 15 stores, "what's more important is that we've put 60,000 Best Buy employees through Vista training," said a spokesman for the Minneapolis-based retailer.

"That's more employees than we have working in our PC departments, but Vista touches so many technologies--flat-screen TVs, digital photos, music, we want to help people get more out of the technology they use across the board."

Microsoft is selling four varieties: Home Basic ($199); Home Premium ($239); Business ($299), and Ultimate ($399).