Feb 162007

So I was reading a review of Vista on The Register and was hardly surprised to see that the consumers are being ripped off again. It seems that they think that Microsoft can’t do currency conversions without making mistakes … I guess this is not too surprising given this is the company that gave us a calculator that made basic arithmetic mistakes.

However I decided to do a little checking myself and decided to use Amazon as the benchmark on differing costs on “Vista Ultimate Full” :-




Next I converted the Amazon.com cost into pounds using £1 = $1.95 which is close enough for the purposes of this little rant :-

Amazon.com in pounds


But wait! I forgot to add UK’s VAT rate of 17.5% :-

Amazon.com in pounds + VAT


Now it is pretty obvious to me that £228 is considerably less than £327. Enough that I should do the calculation the other way around :-

Amazon.co.uk – VAT


And to convert it into dollars :-

Amazon.co.uk – VAT in dollars


So instead of $379, we in the UK pay $542 for our copies of Vista. That’s an increase of 43%! Now I could forgive a little bit of flab in the cost, but 43% is a little much to swallow. Apparently when The Register contacted Microsoft about this puzzling price discrepancy, Microsoft claimed they adjusted their prices to suit the market … or to put it another way, they gouge as much out of the consumer as they think they can get away with. Obviously they think that the average UK consumer is a bit of a numbskull.

It would be nice to prove them wrong. And ask the EU to take a little look into this matter.

Of course Microsoft is not the only company that tries to rip us off with the excuse of ‘tax variations’ and other bullshit reasons. Apple sells the Mac OSX operating system at widely varying prices :-

Apple.com US Price for OSX

Apple.com UK price for OSX


Hmm. Doesn’t seem like a ripoff compared with Vista does it ? Take a closer look :-

Apple.com UK price without VAT

Apple.com UK price without VAT in dollars


Hey that’s only 14% more expensive in the UK than the US. All worship Apple! No wait … that’s still a huge ripoff, but just not quite as excessive as Microsoft.

Of course this gives the Linux, Solairs and *BSD marketing types a good slogan :-

£0 or $0 – No ripoff there!

It is interesting to see that Microsoft could not give The Register reviewer a free review copy … you might understand it if it were a small company with a valuable product, but Microsoft and Vista hardly fit in there. Microsoft are probably wondering why they didn’t get a positive review 🙂

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