Microsoft Corp will sell the standard home-user version of its new Windows 7 operating system for 8 percent less than the comparable version of its Vista system, as the global downturn hits spending on technology. The world’s largest software company, whose recent ads champion low-priced PCs against more expensive Apple Inc computers, said the new system will be available at even lower prices for a short time, as it looks to tempt buyers ahead of the holiday shopping season. The new operating system, which Microsoft hopes will be a bigger hit than the poorly received Vista, will be generally released on Oct. 22. It will be available on pre-order from U.S. stores such as Best Buy Co Inc, online retailer Inc and the company’s own website from Friday. Microsoft did not detail how much it would charge PC makers such as Hewlett-Packard Co, Dell Inc and Acer Inc for preloading Windows 7 on their machines, which is how most customers will come to use the operating system. The price Microsoft charges manufacturers is becoming a thorny point, as both sides look to maximize their share of profits as PC sales dip and prices are driven down. The software giant said it would sell the Home Premium upgrade version of Windows 7 — which most nonbusiness customers already using Windows will want — for $49.99 from Friday until July 11 in the United States. The discs would be shipped after general release. After July 11, the pre-order price will be $119.99, 8 percent less than the current $129.99 price tag for the comparable version of Vista, which cost $159.99 at launch in early 2007. The Professional upgrade version of Windows 7 — aimed at small companies using multiple computers — will be on sale until July 11 at $99.99, then at $199.99 afterward. The comparable Vista version is the same price.