The PRODUCT (RED) brand has been offering consumers a way to buy their favorite product in the lurid shade of healthy hemoglobin to help fight AIDS in Africa. The merits of the program are debated, particularly in regards to companies offloading the responsibility of choosing to donate money to AIDS research onto their own customers. But still, companies largely choose to sell their PRODUCT (RED) brand products for the same price as their other gadget shades, and simply give a percentage of their profit to charity.
Significantly breaking the mould, though, is Microsoft. They've announced that they'll be selling a Windows Vista Ultimate PRODUCT (RED) edition starting December 15th, made distinct from plain old Ultimate only by some new wallpapers, a screensaver, two sidebar gadgets and a Dreamscene. That's a lot less enticing even than a whore red iPod.
But for all the blase mundanity of the actual offering, Microsoft doesn't seem to be taking less of a cut of profit on their PRODUCT (RED) version of Windows Vista Ultimate: in fact, they are upping the price by almost $70, if this pre-order price on Amazon is to be believed. A regular copy of Vista Ultimate is only $149.99; PRODUCT (RED), on the other hand, is $219.95.
Most likely, this discrepancy is more a result of Amazon's strange discounting algorithms than anything Microsoft is trying to accomplish, but it certainly all has the appearance of Microsoft deciding to charge consumers more rather than give up a slice of their profit for charity. And then, of course, there's the whole absurdity of Microsoft releasing yet another edition of Windows Vista.