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Windows Operating Systems Software Microsoft The Almighty Buck

Exchange Rates Spell High Prices for Windows 7 In the EU 548

CWmike writes "European customers will pay up to twice as much for Windows 7 compared with US users, even though the new operating system will ship without a browser in Europe. Some of the money Microsoft stands to make on the European editions of Windows 7 comes from the weak dollar. Last week, for instance, the dollar fell against the euro the most in a month, hitting $1.41 per euro. For example, Windows 7 Professional, the key retail edition for businesses, will sport a price tag of 285 euros, or $400.60, and £189.99, or $313.84, at Saturday's exchange rate. In other words, EU customers will pay twice the $199.99 U.S. price; U.K. buyers will pay 57% more. And depending on your view on bundling IE, Europe's customers will be paying more for less, with Microsoft's decision to yank IE8 from Windows 7 in an effort to head off EU antitrust regulators, who may still force the company to take more drastic measures."
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Exchange Rates Spell High Prices for Windows 7 In the EU

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  • Fine (Score:5, Funny)

    by L4t3r4lu5 ( 1216702 ) on Monday June 29, 2009 @05:16AM (#28511437)
    I won't buy it, then.

    Really, fuck US products. I don't need your music, software, cars, or internet.

    In fact, that includes Slas[NO CARRIER]
    • Re: (Score:2, Flamebait)

      by L4t3r4lu5 ( 1216702 )
      Flamebait? Mods must have used up all their "senseofhumour" quote over the weekend.

      I'm not leaving Slashdot, I'm not boycotting US products in general, and taking it as a person insult if I did is just stoopid.
    • That's the only smart thing to do. Why pay exorbitant prices for a shoddy operating system? Switch to something stable, like Debian. Some of the finest cities in Europe are already doing so, as noted in another /. article yesterday.

      Hell, I live in the US, and I don't want to pay for Windows!!

    • by cjsm ( 804001 )

      One point about the price difference is in the U.S. Microsoft offers both the upgrade version, which is cheaper, and the more expensive retail version. Europe is just getting the retail version, due to the removing of IE 8 because of the European lawsuit. But Microsoft is having a half price preorder sale, which is 49 pounds for the full retail version of Home Premium in Britain. I just preordered for $49 for the upgrade version in the U.S. I'd rather have the full version for $75, but the offer in the

  • It's not only Europe (Score:5, Informative)

    by Anonymous Coward on Monday June 29, 2009 @05:16AM (#28511441)

    In Australia, the price of Windows 7 is AU$200. The US equivalent is AU$60.
    You do the math.

    Yes, this is a big "f*** you" from Redmond.


    • Re: (Score:3, Insightful)

      by j35ter ( 895427 )

      Oh well, we'll just leech it from http://thepiratebay.org/ [thepiratebay.org]

      • by TheRaven64 ( 641858 ) on Monday June 29, 2009 @06:34AM (#28511945) Journal
        Or use something else. Seriously. Pirating Windows just helps Microsoft by promoting network effects, letting device and software makers get away with only supporting Windows and making the next version of Windows more attractive to buyers. If you think Windows is too expensive don't buy it. Either stick with the old version, or migrate to something else.
        • Re: (Score:3, Insightful)

          by Anonymous Coward

          Pirating Windows just helps Microsoft

          I think the best thing that could happen to Linux and other alternative operating systems would be if Microsoft made it absolutely impossible to pirate Windows. It would be very interesting to see the result of that.

          (I'd like to see the same thing happen with Photoshop too. I have a feeling Gimp development would get quite a boost as a result. So many people use Photoshop over alternatives just because it's so easy to get a pirate copy.)

    • Re: (Score:3, Interesting)

      by Blue Stone ( 582566 )

      It would be nice if the EU, instead of bitching about MS including Internet Explorer in their OS (leading to the ludicrous situation where they omit to include ANY browser with the win7 E version) did something about this blatant price gouging of european consumers.

      If this isn't monopoly abuse, I don't know what is.

  • OEM Prices Please (Score:5, Interesting)

    by Anonymous Coward on Monday June 29, 2009 @05:18AM (#28511453)

    I've never ever bought a retail copy of windows. I've only met one person who actually has. Stop wasting our time and quote the OEM prices, because thats what everyone buys.

    • by tsa ( 15680 )

      I also bought a retail copy, because I won a Mac and can't use an OEM version. I guess many more people are in my situation.

    • Re: (Score:3, Funny)

      by peragrin ( 659227 )

      except for the 50% of people who don 't qualify for the OEM/ education versions.

      If your OEM and your installing it on non authorized machines then you will be sued by MSFT it is just a matter of time until they find out.

      • Non-authorized machines? What is that, exactly? If I sell a machine, the customer wants Windows, I install it from an OEM disk that I legally paid for, what's the deal?

        Or, are you referring to those people who use the same OEM disk to install on dozens or hundreds of machines?

      • Re: (Score:2, Informative)

        by xeper ( 29981 )

        except for the 50% of people who don 't qualify for the OEM/ education versions.

        "Qualify"? You just go to a shop, buy an OEM/SBE Version and install it. Perfectly legal - in some (most?) EU-countries...

  • Huh? (Score:5, Insightful)

    by Culture20 ( 968837 ) on Monday June 29, 2009 @05:19AM (#28511463)
    If the Euro has more buying power than the dollar (lets say it's double for ease of math), wouldn't the price of something be $10 in the US and €5 in Europe?
    • Re:Huh? (Score:4, Insightful)

      by Winckle ( 870180 ) <markNO@SPAMwinckle.co.uk> on Monday June 29, 2009 @05:20AM (#28511479) Homepage

      You clearly don't understand Globalisation.

      • Re:Huh? (Score:5, Insightful)

        by Kokuyo ( 549451 ) on Monday June 29, 2009 @05:26AM (#28511525) Journal

        Indeed. Globalisation makes source material cheaper for companies and end-products more expensive for consumers while the same consumers at the same time have to be more accepting of corporate bullshit, lesser quality and have to be flexible when it comes to their jobs.

        Meanwhile, consumers are NOT allowed to profit from globalisation themselves. That would defeat the whole idea of carving more money out of your customers.

        • Re: (Score:2, Informative)

          Indeed. Globalisation makes source material cheaper for companies and end-products more expensive for consumers

          You are very wrong. [american.com]

        • Re: (Score:2, Funny)

          by cliffski ( 65094 )

          Intel and Microsoft and Google are all US companies. I am in the UK. I use all 3 companies products and I also use the world wide web, which an English guy helped design based on underlying code that the US developed. As a Uk developer I sell to everywhere, including Nigeria and China.

          What alternative to globalisation do you suggest? That Spanish people have to rely on Spanish made and designed chips and the Spanish version of TCP/IP?

          Globalisation, if coupled with a lack of regulation and transparency can l

      • Re:Huh? (Score:4, Funny)

        by L4t3r4lu5 ( 1216702 ) on Monday June 29, 2009 @05:33AM (#28511569)
        Globalisation is all about the customer, and their position with regard to the market.

        For an example, take a capital letter L, invert it, and place it next to a lower-case o. The customers is the L. For added realism, put a capital F behind the inverted L and keep adding and deleting a single space between them.
        • **r the pr*tecti*n *f *ur children let's n*t use a capital *, capital * *r l*wer case * anym*re.
        • by RuBLed ( 995686 )

          For an example, take a capital letter L, invert it, and place it next to a lower-case o. The customers is the L. For added realism, put a capital F behind the inverted L and keep adding and deleting a single space between them.

          I see...

    • Re:Huh? (Score:4, Interesting)

      by kukulcan ( 1440401 ) on Monday June 29, 2009 @06:23AM (#28511873)
      I fail to see the link between a "weaker dollar" and higher prices in the EU. Actually, it should work the other way - a weaker dollar should lead to *lower* prices in the EU, in Euros. Anyway, i never understood the pricing of some companies - MS, Apple, Sony - as they seem to assume that 1$ = 1 = 0.75£ or something. Economically this just doesn't make sense. The prices should reflect the costs, which in these companies are in different currencies. The prices should then be ajusted to reflect the division of the costs in these currencies, and some hedging should be done to counteract exchange rate risk. Just assuming a fixed exchange rate (one which is wrong...) just doesn't make sense to me. I would love to see the justification for this, including why the prices in EU and Britain always seem to be higher than in the US or Japan.
    • Only if you could buy at the dollar price. When pricing products for different markets, companies usually pick some arbitrary exchange rate, often USD == EUR. This means you end up with something like $100 for one and â100 for another. A few years ago, this was close to being accurate, so the dollar and Euro prices were similar. If the Euro becomes stronger by, say 50%, against the dollar, then the prices are still $100 and â100, but the Euro price is now equivalent to $150. If you buy the US

  • Not surprising (Score:2, Informative)

    For some reason, pretty much everything in technology is assumed 1€=1$... at least ever since the dollar is weak. Poor Britons have it worse, because they often get 1&pound=1$

    Try buying Apple hardware here... That hurts.... Smallest MacBook? 945€ In the US 999$ (which translates to 712€ at current rates)

    • Re:Not surprising (Score:5, Informative)

      by beelsebob ( 529313 ) on Monday June 29, 2009 @05:50AM (#28511675)

      Not forgetting that the EU price includes sales tax, while the US one doesn't, lets add for example belgium's 21% sales tax -- that makes the US price actually â861. Still not a great deal in the EU, but not as royally shafted as you made it look.

  • by AtomicJake ( 795218 ) on Monday June 29, 2009 @05:21AM (#28511489)

    Interestingly enough, when the dollar was strong against the Euro (e.g. 1 Euro = 0.8 US$), we did not have the reverse effect. At that time in Europe, Prices of goods from the US were just increased.

  • by benbread ( 910501 ) on Monday June 29, 2009 @05:21AM (#28511495) Homepage Journal
    Pretty much the entire rest of the world got fucked over with Vista pricing too.. Here's how Gates weasel'd out of it @1:08: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=mmd93lWbOsw [youtube.com]
  • by Fross ( 83754 ) on Monday June 29, 2009 @05:22AM (#28511497)

    People actually pay for Windows?


    • by j35ter ( 895427 )

      No, real people don't!

    • This article is an unfair characterization of what's happening. It's not that Europeans will pay twice as much as Americans (well it is, but that's not the point). It is that in America, we're having a huge sale, everything must go, and everything is half off (for our rich European friends).

      And if any of you Europeans think this is unfair, do not despair, we can certainly make it up to you. Now that George W. Bush is out of office, I'm pretty sure that he would be willing to go to Old Europe on a consultati

  • Well, whaddaya know (Score:3, Interesting)

    by Kokuyo ( 549451 ) on Monday June 29, 2009 @05:23AM (#28511503) Journal

    Microsoft actually wants me to leech this off of BitTorrent. There's no other explanation.

    Well, wouldn't want to disappoint them, no? I was pretty surprised at how little I hate Windows 7. I was actually thinking of buying. But it seems my perfect track record of never paying for Windows will remain perfect.

    I mean, think about it. You can get new machines for what? 500 Euros? Do they really think that a, almost, 60% bonus for the OS will fly? I realize that OEM deals will look decidedly different, but come on...

    • Re: (Score:2, Offtopic)

      I'm sure the magic of monopolistic bundling with hardware will solve this problem. After all, it's why Vista sold. Seriously, why does the EU care about browsers, the tying to hardware crap is so much worse from an anti-competitive standpoint.

    • by dnaumov ( 453672 ) on Monday June 29, 2009 @06:27AM (#28511891)

      Microsoft actually wants me to leech this off of BitTorrent. There's no other explanation.

      I am confused. Where does this feeling of entitlement to someones product come from? If you don't agree with their pricing for Windows 7, you are free to use the older version if you have it or switch to any of the many different free operating systems available.

      • There is no feeling of entitlement. It's the feeling of "I want the product, but MS is pricing me out of my ability to buy it"

        The other thing is, MS really needs to compete against piracy. People can't justify huge expenditure to themselves if they know can get the exact same thing elsewhere for £0 (or â0 etc.) - irrespective of the legality of it. This problem is big for software too, because the high pricing is really just an intangible barrier. There's no real reason the physical goods/s

  • Not a problem really (Score:2, Interesting)

    by geegel ( 1587009 )
    Everybody has the right to shoot himself in the leg, just don't moan when it hurts like a bitch. I wouldn't be surprised if I'll see a sudden rise in Windows' piracy rate or, even better, see more people switch to Ubuntu.
    • by MrKaos ( 858439 ) on Monday June 29, 2009 @06:26AM (#28511883) Journal

      or, even better, see more people switch to Ubuntu.

      A neighbour asked if I would build him a grunty machine to do video production and as a general use computer. He told me he had heard Vista was a nightmare, he needed a machine now, and he wasn't sure what he should do.

      I told him that XP probably wouldn't 'get the juice' out of the current generation of processors properly and that windows 7 won't be out for a while and would he like to give Ubuntu (studio) a go. I told him he would at least save on the price of a copy of windows and he might be able to buy some other gear. As suggested by a slashdotter here I let him know that there would probably be problems as any computer has but we can work through any issues that arise, so far all has gone well.

      I was pleasantly surprised by the latest Ubuntu Studio Jaunty release. His video camera and mobile phone worked with it immediately, the webcam on the ASUS monitor works well with skype. We setup Amarok for his music collection. I showed him how to install more software, told him there were other video programs aside for Kino but to give this one a go, now he is using it to make dvd's of his fishing trips.

      My neighbour is a fireman, and is quite humble about his proficiency as a computer user. I told him the machine is NOT windows or a mac but he is using the machine with confidence blowing away any pre-conceptions in my mind of Linux usability. He is about as far away from being a Linux geek as anyone can be and keeping the purchase price of windows, to him, meant he could afford a kick ass logitech speaker setup and most of the purchase price of a new HP printer. When I asked him a few days ago about how the new computer was going his exact word were:

      "I'm lovin' it"

      Linux may not be ready for the desktop, but I think it's fast becoming the new value proposition.

      • by jotaeleemeese ( 303437 ) on Monday June 29, 2009 @07:40AM (#28512327) Homepage Journal

        The day I installed Ubuntu on my mum's computer (Hello Mum!) and then she proceeded to send emails, download a few images and do some searches, I knew Linux had reached maturity.

        Linux may lack the marketing that both Microsoft and Apple have, but the word is spreading.

        For example here in hte UK, for the first time I saw a Linux magazine in a local supermarket news stand (Sainsburys). Yeah, the same kind of place that sells TV magazines, PCWorld, MacWorld and all what would be considered broad hobbyist and popular interest publications. That is telling me that people actually risking money in the publishing business have identified a need, irrespective of Open Source politics.

        At the same time a major local retailer (WH Smith) is now regularly stacking between 2 and 3 Linux magazines (Linux Format, Linux Magazine and/or Linux User) against normally only one OSX magazine.

        So people actually doing business have detected that there is a swell of interest in Linux, that says more than anything Netcraft would report.

  • by budword ( 680846 ) on Monday June 29, 2009 @05:31AM (#28511555)

    There are other options these days.

  • So you buy Windows 7 ...


    You could use Linux and spend the money you save on a a netbook.

  • by El_Muerte_TDS ( 592157 ) on Monday June 29, 2009 @05:41AM (#28511623) Homepage

    Usually the conversion rate is 1 USD is 1 Euro. For example, look at the prices for video games. A $60 game consts 60 euros. Even Valve applies this conversion rate in Steam, and Apple for their store. It's extra income for the company. And most customers don't mind that much.

    Of course there are some companies that want even more, for example the Rockband game in europe was 250% the price compared to the US retail price. EA said this was due to higher shipping rates (it's not like the other plasic toys from China cost that much).
    But I guess that Microsoft went the same way (or as a retaliation to the fines they got), because they don't even do the $1=1 euro conversion. I bet they Blame it on localization. I'm sure that costs 85 euro per copy.

    There's a fair chance this will hurt MS, because their TCO just went up a lot.

  • by Bromskloss ( 750445 ) <auxiliary,address,for,privacy&gmail,com> on Monday June 29, 2009 @05:42AM (#28511627)

    It costs twice as much in Europe as in the USA.

  • Hey Guys... (Score:5, Insightful)

    by bmo ( 77928 ) on Monday June 29, 2009 @05:53AM (#28511699)

    If you don't like the price, then don't buy it.

    Don't pirate it either. Use something else.

    But don't pirate it. If you do, you're doing what Microsoft considers "the next best thing" - ignoring alternatives. Alternatives scare the piss out of Microsoft. Back when Microsoft didn't have a stranglehold on the market, people were happy enough pirating 95 and 98, while ignoring things like BeOS and OS/2 (both competitively priced and more powerful) and it suited Microsoft and Bill Gates just fine.^1 Both OS/2 and BeOS are gone from the market because of piracy's market distortion.

    Hopefully Windows 7 will come with an even more strict WGA and OGA to extract more pain from consumers. Maybe they'll wake up.


    1. Of course, Microsoft executives prefer that people buy, but theft can build market share more quickly, as company co-founder and Chairman Bill Gates acknowledged in an unguarded moment in 1998.

    "Although about 3 million computers get sold every year in China, people don't pay for the software. Someday they will, though," Gates told an audience at the University of Washington. "And as long as they're going to steal it, we want them to steal ours. They'll get sort of addicted, and then we'll somehow figure out how to collect sometime in the next decade." http://articles.latimes.com/2006/apr/09/business/fi-micropiracy9 [latimes.com]

    • Hopefully Windows 7 will come with an even more strict WGA and OGA to extract more pain from consumers. Maybe they'll wake up

      Microsoft better get Windows 7 right.
      Getting WGA and a strict OGA will hurt Microsoft and not customers.
      Microsoft is allowing installable ISO editions of its Windows 7. This is really Great!
      I could buy online, download it online and install it.
      BeOS failed because it did not coexist with anybody else.
      OS/2 is still running ATMs. IBM pulled it from Retail because it realized that its strong point is mainframe.
      Both of them did not go under because of piracy.
      Get your facts right.

      • Both of them did not go under because of piracy.

        That's not what he's saying. The grandparent's point is that it was difficult for BeOS and OS/2 to compete with pirated Windows. I ran BeOS 5 for a while, and it was a nice system. It was also cheaper than Windows. It was not, however, cheaper than pirated Windows, and the advantage of software compatibility you got from pirated Windows was better value for money than BeOS.

  • by sulimma ( 796805 ) on Monday June 29, 2009 @06:02AM (#28511753)

    Any customer in the EU is free to purchase from UK retailers.

    If Microsoft tries to prevent this they could be fined by the comission. (Happend before to VW and others.)

  • If the euro price has already been established as ân*, the USD can fall to 5 bucks a euro if it wants; it doesn't make it any more expensive to buy in Europe except in people's imagination.
    Americans are still paying the same price; Europeans are still paying the same price. The exchange rate goes down and Microsoft makes a windfall. Lucky Microsoft. :shrug:

    *NOTE: "â" is slashdot's lame interpretation of the euro symbol.

    • Re: (Score:3, Informative)

      by binkzz ( 779594 )
      If the USD and the EUR were the same when the product was sold, and then the EUR goes down in price, I would agree with you.

      But if the price according to the exchange rates at release differs %100, I believe it's a scam.
  • European customers will pay up to twice as much for Windows 7 compared with US users, even though the new operating system will ship without a browser in Europe.

    No IE? Surely you mean "because"? :)

  • We all know about price elasticity: the more something costs, the fewer people buy it.

    If Microsoft strat gouging customers in various parts of the world, they really shouldn't be surprised if one of two^H^H^Hthree things happen:

    People don't buy their new products - and make do with older versions

    People find alternatives that are cheaper

    People obtain the product from unauthorised sources - i.e. piracy

    Now, operating systems development is basically a sunk cost. You pay for all the work (well, apart from t

  • At twice the price, why can't you just purchase a US edition? They all have the same language packs available.
  • by gringer ( 252588 ) on Monday June 29, 2009 @07:10AM (#28512151)

    Well, if Exchange rates are the reason for the high price, why don't people purchase the thing without Exchange? It was a silly program anyway.

  • by Pop69 ( 700500 ) <billy@ben a r t y .co.uk> on Monday June 29, 2009 @07:59AM (#28512449) Homepage
    US IT companies have almost always just changed the $ sign to a £ sign when they sell software here in the UK and made noises about "localisation costs" and "compliance costs"

    Just business as usual, screwing as much profit out of the consumer as possible.
  • by emanem ( 1356033 ) on Monday June 29, 2009 @08:25AM (#28512617) Homepage
    How do you think they'll make pay the EU for the fines? By making windows more expensive!
    Occam's razor does apply here.
    Easy peasy.
  • by tjstork ( 137384 ) <todd DOT bandrowsky AT gmail DOT com> on Monday June 29, 2009 @08:42AM (#28512771) Homepage Journal

    The US dollar is cheap, and getting cheaper. Therefor, Windows over in Europe ought to be cheaper than it would have been, not more expensive.

Marvelous! The super-user's going to boot me! What a finely tuned response to the situation!