MS Windows, Office available to download

Online store finally opens in US, five months after UK

Windows Vista

Although Microsoft launched it quietly in the UK last June, its online store offering Windows and more for download is finally opening in the US.

That the Microsoft Store is only now going live in the company's home market may come as a surprise in an age when even corner shops have an online presence.

Mainstream support

Still, it's not exactly straightforward – downloads are available and can be accessed multiple times, of course, but aren't exactly permanent.

Unlike physical disks that can be used until they wear out, MS grants access to the product "until mainstream support ends", which is "typically five years", according to program manager Trevin Chow.

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Environmental concerns

Considering prices in the UK store of £450 for Office Professional 2007 and £230 for Windows Vista Ultimate, we're just glad there's an option to burn the software to disk too.

In its defence, MS (through Chow) says downloads are suitable for computers without optical drives and that saving on packaging and shipping is "better for the environment".