As some of you may know, I am a Contributing Editor with PC Pro Magazine in the UK, which is why I am able to reveal that according to figures ‘obtained’ by the publication Microsoft Office 2007 will officially be a rip-off. If you are buying in the UK that is.
While we, on this side of the pond, have long been used to getting the grubby end of the stick when it comes to IT product pricing, this one really takes the biscuit. Just as nobody expected the Spanish Inquisition, so nobody in the IT game over here expects to find their purchases costing the equivalent of the dollar price, based upon a straight exchange rate conversion. The business world does not work like that, and there will always be different overheads to take into account when selling into different international markets.
However, explain to me if you will, or indeed if you can, why it appears that UK users will have to pay a staggering 72 percent more than US users for Office 2007 Professional Edition? The suggested retail pricing of which, PC Pro has discovered from confidential Microsoft figures, is a phenomenal £449.99. Of course, these figures were never meant for public consumption prior to launch, and with the Ultimate version priced at £600 (62 percent more expensive), Small Business at £399.99 (69 percent hike) and Standard at £349.99 (67 percent more) you can understand why.
According to PC Pro, Microsoft have commented on the pricing by claiming that it estimates UK retail prices based on discussions with retail partners who “discuss with us what they would like to charge for it.” Well, no surprise that they would like to charge as much as they can, thank you very much Mr. Microsoft sir, then. “We have an analyst who works the range of prices out and takes an average" is the Microsoft response. Oh, well, that is OK then.
In fact, the pricing is not Microsoft’s fault at all, so they insist. The comment that got the biggest belly laugh, and simultaneous sigh, from me had to be “It's up to our partners to set the pricing. We're not allowed to fix prices - that would be illegal."
Of course, the reality is that some retailers will discount these prices in order to gain volume sales. However, the underlying reality is that, yet again, UK buyers are getting right royally ripped off.