Many people know that I'm a pretty big fan of Microsoft in general. However, one thing that I have never been able to understand nor justify is the massive price differences between Microsoft US pricing and the Australian pricing.
For instance in the US you can get an upgrade to Windows 7 Ultimate for US$229, whereas here in Australia the price is near double that at $430. Sure, there will be discounts around and I've seen them for the mid-$300 mark, but how can Microsoft justify such a massive price difference, particularly when the Aussie dollar is doing so strongly?
I can understand that importing products will need to deal with exchange rates. But the Windows 7 upgrade is downloaded not imported, so why isn't there a direct dollar conversion from the US dollar? Microsoft's outdated attitude stands in contrast to hardware vendors such as HP which adjust their pricing with exchange rate fluctuations. How do we as resellers justify this to our clients?
This has been going on for years now with things like the Microsoft Action Pack. It costs US$299 in the US but here it's $699. The local Microsoft team have recently lowered that price with the option of a digital download, but that was after much blood, sweat and tears exchanged between the community and a few hard working individuals within Microsoft. I certainly give them kudos for that.
I don't blame the local Microsoft people; I'm sure they are doing what they can with the structure they have, but respectfully I think things really need to change.
Read the various blogs and community forums over the past few days and you will see a host
of people in the community asking, "Why should I buy it here in Australia when I can get it cheaper on Amazon?"
Ultimately it is our customers who pay. Or more precisely they choose NOT to pay and defer the purchase of upgrades until the next PC purchase. This has a flow-on effect in deferring valuable services revenues from our business as well.
While the cost of the software is not the only component, it is an important part of the customer's perception. Aussies tend to shy away from corporates that "rip off" the little guy and I've had customers express that concern to me on multiple occasions.
The question is what will Microsoft do about it? What should they do?
By: Wayne Small, SBS MVP, SBSfaq.com