Monday, 29 June 2009 05:12

MS gives to Europeans with one hand, takes with the other

Europeans will be offered full Windows 7 licences at upgrade prices, but they will still pay significantly more than their US counterparts for most versions.

Microsoft has revealed that it will sell the 'full' version of Windows 7 in Europe for what would otherwise have been the upgrade price.

(The reason for putting quotes around 'full' is because European customers get Windows 7E, which lacks Internet Explorer in a move intended to prevent Microsoft getting further offside with the European Commission.)

According to Microsoft officials, the European pricing decision came about as there was insufficient time to test a retail upgrade version of Windows 7E and still ship it on October 22.

However, in most cases European prices will still be significantly higher than those charged in the US, despite the absence of Microsoft's browser.

Home Premium will cost €119.99, Professional €285, and Ultimate €299. At the time of writing, those prices convert to $US168.66, $US400.60, and $US420.27.

The US upgrade prices are $US119.99, $US199.99 and $US219.99; with full licences costing $US199.99, $US299.99, and $US319.99.

Unless they really do need a Windows 7 Home Premium upgrade, European buyers will be paying substantially more than their US counterparts, even when taxes are taken into account.

The US dollar is currently weak against the Euro, and it is possible that Microsoft expects that situation to change in the coming weeks or months. Large companies tend to make long-term pricing decisions rather than continually adjusting overseas prices to reflect exchange rate fluctuations.

At least some European customers will be offered discounts for pre-ordering - see page 2.

Australian prices also tend to the high side. Full licences will be $A299, $A449 and $A469, which convert to $US241.49, $US362.63 and $378.79.

Upgrade prices will be much closer to their US equivalents at $A199, $A399 and $A429, or $US160.72, $US322.25 and $US346.48.

Microsoft has also announced that customers in the US, Canada, Japan, UK, France and Germany will have a limited opportunity to pre-order Windows 7 Home Premium or Pro at a substantial discount through participating retailers.

For example, US pre-order pricing for Home Premium will be $US49.99, compared with the normal $US119.99.

The US/Canada and Japan pre-order period opened last Friday; the scheme will begin in the named European countries on July 15.

The deal is 'while stocks last', and in any case orders must be placed by July 5 (Japan), July 11 (US/Canada) and August 14 (UK, France, Germany).

There's no mention of pre-oder pricing for Australian customers.

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Stephen Withers

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Stephen Withers is one of Australia¹s most experienced IT journalists, having begun his career in the days of 8-bit 'microcomputers'. He covers the gamut from gadgets to enterprise systems. In previous lives he has been an academic, a systems programmer, an IT support manager, and an online services manager. Stephen holds an honours degree in Management Sciences and a PhD in Industrial and Business Studies.

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