Thursday, October 22, 2009

Microsoft Price Gouging in Australia

This is both in response to a thread in the ANZ-SMB-ITS Yahoo! Group and also in response to Microsoft's blatant "mistruths" (being politically correct there...) as streamed live by Jeff Putt and his colleagues during the Windows 7 Launch in Sydney this morning, including the classic comment (by Jeff Putt) in response to a question about why Microsoft Australia is charging such high price for Windows 7 in Australia compared to the rest of the world, that "Microsoft doesn't set the retail price themselves", which is utter rubbish.

NB: Please Note that the product referred to below is Microsoft's Action Pack Subscription that's available to Registered Partners so that they can get to know Microsoft's products in order to be able to sell them and support them - it is not a product that is available to the general public. Also, please note that the exchange rates were accurate as of 08:10 (Brisbane time) on 20 October, 2009.

I spent my year as the SBSC PAL trying to do exactly what Microsoft asked of me – let them know what the SBSC Partners were saying. The problem is that what the SBSC Partners that talked to me were saying was generally stuff that Microsoft didn’t want to hear. So Microsoft, with some encouragement to ignore what I was saying, tried their best to ignore me for doing *exactly* what I was asked by them to do. Talk about a wasted opportunity on Microsoft’s behalf!

And now they tell us that all across the board, partner satisfaction rates are low and the SMB partner satisfaction rates are the lowest satisfaction rates in Microsoft’s history. Really ? I think I spent last year trying to explain to them that they were well and truly out of touch with the reality that we, as their Partners, exist in. One of the things that I brought up with at APC last year was the price gouging that we’re copping here in Australia. I’ve brought that up with them numerous times before and will likely do it numerous times again until they start to play fairly. Look at MAPS, for instance, that we’re still getting royally shafted over, despite Sarah Arnold’s claims to the contrary. In Australia we’re still getting hit with $660 (down from $699) for the media distribution version and $396 for the download version. UK pays £273 for media and £199 (each plus 15% VAT). US pays $498 for media and $299 for download.

Country - Type
Local Price (inc)
Exchange Rate
AU $ inc
Price Diff to AU
% of $AU
AU – Media
AU - Download
US – Media
US – Download
-$  75
UK - Media
UK - Download
-$  44
IT - Media
JP - Media
37,800 円

OK, with that I was *hoping* to show that, in picking a few comparative countries, we weren’t getting gouged quite that badly, but it seems that this shows that we’re worse off than a number of similar countries. Maybe we can add $50 when it comes to the Media version, but there’s no excuse for Microsoft Australia to be gouging us like this for the download version – it costs no more for Microsoft to have me download it here than it does for Vijay to download it in the UK or anyone anywhere else.

And MAPS is far from all that we’re being price gouged on – look at any SKU and compare it with any of those countries shown above (and probably any other country, too) and you’ll see that we’re being slugged with a Microsoft Australia Tax for just being Australian. No, this is not fair, but it seems that Microsoft Australia is almost totally unwilling to take any serious steps towards making amends to this practice.

The Windows 7 Upgrade pricing is certainly making me reconsider what I was going to be doing with all our clients – we would have been upgrading all clients to Windows 7, but now we’re seriously considering only supplying new machines with Windows 7 and if there’s any chance that the clients can see the value in upgrading an older machine from XP Pro to Windows 7, then sure, but the rest can stay at Windows XP until the whole system needs upgrading – and this is only because of the insane price Microsoft is wanting to charge my clients to upgrade.

Maybe we’ll look at going to Apple and Macintosh computers instead? Or open source – Ubuntu is getting a lot better, and Samba’s pretty good. There’s a few Exchange alternatives around now that are pretty good too, and if there’s a need for a SQL LOB, then we can run it on a Foundation Server and add it to the Samba domain.


The Outspoken Wookie

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