The hype is true - Windows 7 is great. If the Release Candidate version is anything to go by, the retail version of Microsoft's latest and greatest OS will be a winner. It is faster and more reliable. It works a treat on my ThinkPad X61 and with plenty of spare RAM after boot.
Due to some weird European Commission on competitive ruling regarding the bundling of Internet Explorer, Microsoft has decided to sell the full retail version of Windows 7 Ultimate E, Professional E and Home Premium E in Europe at a discounted price (upgrade price for the full retail edition version). And for a very limited time, you can get them even cheaper if you pre-order quickly: Windows 7 Professional for £89.97 and the Home Premium for a recession busting £44.97. This is great news for those still stuck with a Windows XP license (like I am), who has no legal upgrade path (and thus discounted) to Windows 7. The 'bad' news is a clean install is a mandatory requirement to get Windows 7 onto your machines.
Now the decision is which version of Windows 7 to get. I am leaning between getting the Professional edition or Home Premium at the moment, with Ultimate out of the question due to surplus features (and it doesn't seem to be getting any pre-order offers). The only exclusive feature from Professional that is tempting is XP virtualisation, but I can always dual boot to XP if I want to.
Update: I've placed an order for two quantites of Professional edition, seeing how cheap it is. It is nice to have a full license for Windows XP for only £40. I may place an order for Home Premium and cancel the order for the Professional edition if the price dips below £49.99, and once Amazon UK sort out their web store.
Update 2: Ebuyer has the Professional edition for £80. Just make sure you opt for free shipping. Unlike Amazon UK or Play.com, I believe they will charge your card straight away, but I can't be sure. I am taking my chance with Amazon UK until someone can confirm that Ebuyer won't charge me until the day of shipment.
Update 3: Placed my order for the Home Premium edition at Amazon UK (a snip at £44.97) for my partner. Brilliant price that is, and I suggest anyone who hasn't yet placed their pre-orders to do so today. This pre-order allocation offer won't last forever.
Update 4: It appears that most places has sold out the initial 'offer allocation'. I know you can't sell out something that does not exist yet, but you know what I mean. The prices of Home Premium has risen up to £74.97 (50% off), Professional to £179.97 (18% off) and Ultimate to £189.97 (17% off). Well, you should have bought them when I told you to do so!
Update 5: PC World still have the Home Premium for £44.99 and Professional for £79.99, even cheaper than Amazon UK. Obviously not many people knows about it (who shops at PC World these days?). Hurry up before the initial allocation runs out.