well i think the need to buy a different disk and re-install the OS just to add features is areally bad idea.
and if they can sell addons to the base how will that be something shareholders or the board would not want? the idea that selling the basic OS for the basic price != not making the same amount of money.
one of the flaws i saw in some of the prior versions of windows was having to many versions and not finding out what features / addons were really the ones that folks wanted to buy.
if users can pick what they want then MS might even be able to make more money by offering more stuff that folks want and will pay for.
I agree. This is a good idea for many reasons. I do think they can make more money from it. Why?
1. Reduces piracy. Sure you can still pirate the OS, but the OS is now only $59 (or whatever the price will be). But you still will pay $30 for all the features you like. Home Premium Upgrade today is $119. So you save $30 over Home Premium upgrade. BUT Microsoft gets $30 revenue from a whole lot of people who didn't pay anything before.
2. With $5 apps introduced over time MS can make a lot of money on new sets of features. With Windows Vista they had that Ultimate Upgrades (or whatever it was called), but MS had no motiviation to provide new functionality. Now each team has motivation in that they can directly monetize it.
3. Since people will pay for each feature this will incentivize teams to do a better job. You can't hide behind the fact that you're shipped in Home Premium. If your feature sucks, it will get bad reviews and people won't buy it. This will force the features to update more often, get better, and will result in a better Windows -- which will result in more sales.
4. As Jeremy noted, a cheaper OS price gets more people in the door. And then you get recurring revenue over time as they buy new features.
I really think this can be a great move if they do it right. I really like the direction they're going with Win8.