Microsoft continues to attempt to regain the initiative, and is attempting to boost sales of its forthcoming Windows 7 OS by offering a deep discount on the software to students, as it tries to lure them back from the Mac.

The company has announced qualified college and university students can obtain Windows 7 for $30 in the US and £30 in the UK. The OS is available to students for pre-order now and will be released for download on October 22 in the US. In the UK pre-orders start September 22, while students in other countries will be able to take up the discount from October 22.

Microsoft has lost many students to Apple in recent years. Apple now leads the education markets in the US and Europe. Now it appears Microsoft is attempting to consolidate its remaining student user base. The discounts are only available to students who already run a “genuine copy” of Windows Vista or XP. They must also possess a valid college email address.

The move follows NPD’s revelation yesterday that Apple’s decision to make Snow Leopard an affordable OS upgrade is paying dividends, Snow Leopard sales in the first two weeks have “far exceeded” those of the two previous OS’s. NPD believes Snow Leopard sales are over twice those of Leopard and four times higher than those achieved by Tiger.

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