27 April 2011

Microsoft rips off students in the UK

The pricing regime of the (mostly American) software industry has always shown contempt for “foreign” customers. For buyers in the UK that usually shows itself in the £1=$1 exchange rate in prices. So something that you pay $99 for in the USA costs £99 in the UK.

Some companies, and here Adobe comes to mind, don’t even apply common prices for internet sales. So while I can buy a product on line from Nuance, say, at the same price as anyone anywhere in the world, Adobe insists on higher prices.

The latest sign of discrimination comes from Microsoft. It has just sent out a newsletter inviting students to “Upgrade to Windows 7”. Hit the link in the message and you land on a page where the price on offer is $29.99, tell them that you are in the UK and you arrive on a page where the price has magically risen to £70.99. Australian students are invited to pay $119.

It seems that there is one place outside North America – Canadians also get a good deal – where Microsoft does not have a funny notion of exchange rates. That is France where the asking prices is just €35.

Perhaps the reputation of French students has reached Microsoft. wouldn’t want them taking to the streets to protest would we?


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