Microsoft yanked its $150 Windows 7 Family Pack from the U.S. market last week, saying that the limited time offer had expired.
The page dedicated to the Family Pack now reads: "Thank you for your interest in Windows 7. The Windows 7 Family Pack offer has ended."
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Some sellers have taken advantage of Family Pack's disappearance to jack up prices of their remaining copies of the three-PC upgrade by as much as 90 percent.
The special offer, which debuted shortly before the Oct. 22 retail launch of Windows 7, let buyers upgrade as many as three PCs from Windows XP or Vista to Windows 7 Home Premium. The $149.99 price of the Family Pack represented a savings of $210 over three separate copies of Windows 7 Home Premium Upgrade, which lists for $119.99.
When it announced Family Pack, Microsoft said that the deal would run only while supplies lasted , but declined to specify how many copies it would push into the market or when it would end.
Family Pack wasn't the only discount that Microsoft has offered for a short time. Last summer, it pre-sold Windows 7 Home Premium Upgrade at $49.99 for just two weeks in the U.S.
Although blogger Paul Thurrott first noted the demise of Family Pack last Friday, searches of search engine caches showed that Microsoft pulled the edition as early as Dec. 1, while users reported online that they had had trouble finding the discounted upgrade the week before.
"As of 11-26-09, the Microsoft Store does not offer the Family Pack," said a user identified as "Jen" in messages on About.com . "Their website doesn't have it and I also called and spoke with a rep who confirmed this."
On Dec. 1, someone tagged as "Mark A" echoed Jen's comment. "Yesterday [Microsoft's site] linked me stores around my area that were suppose to sale [sic] it. However, several trips to local outlets was futile. I then called the Microsoft Store and they claimed they had been out of stock for past 2 weeks and can't sale [sic] it."
The sudden disappearance of Family Pack raised hackles. "[I] am frustrated as I had planned on picking up the Family Pack in December. As others have pointed out, there was no warning that the deal was about to expire," said "TonyB" on the same Answer.com thread.
Several sellers affiliated with Amazon.com still listed Family Pack as of Sunday, but had marked up the price between 70 percent and 90 percent, to between $255 and $285.