What if users could have Windows their way?

How much would you pay Microsoft for a port of its BitLocker drive encryption — a technology slated to be available only to Vista Enterprise and Vista Ultimate users — that could run on the Vista Business SKU? Or on Windows XP, for that matter? This might not be a purely hypothetical question. When I […]

How much would you pay Microsoft for a port of its BitLocker drive encryption — a technology slated to be available only to Vista Enterprise and Vista Ultimate users — that could run on the Vista Business SKU? Or on Windows XP, for that matter?

This might not be a purely hypothetical question.

When I read today that Apple is expected to charge Mac OS X Tiger users some fee (educated guessers predict $29) for a version of the BootCamp Windows shell that will work on Mac OS 10.4, it got me thinking. What if Microsoft did something similar and offered to sell different pieces of Windows to users of older versions?

The scenario isn't as far-fetched as it may sound. After all, Microsoft seems to be moving toward making more elements of Windows available as free and/or paid online services. Vista's Welcome screen already offers links to Windows Live Mail Desktop (free), Windows Live OneCare (paid), Windows Live Messenger (free) and Windows Live Toolbar (free).

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Microsoft, Windows Vista, Windows XP