UK Citizens Complain To Government About Expensive Vista

from the higher-priorities dept

Europe has given Microsoft plenty of headaches relating to the release of Vista. For a while, the big concern was that the operating system had too much security built into it, and thus posed an antitrust threat. Now, some people in the UK are lodging a more pedestrian complaint: they think Vista is too expensive. In particular, they’re upset that Microsoft is pricing Vista higher in the UK than in the US. So, they’ve petitioned Tony Blair to do something about it, and prevent Microsoft from charging so much. It’s not clear why Microsoft is charging a different price depending on which side of the Atlantic it’s on, but there are a number of possible reasons, such as higher taxes and higher overhead in the UK, that aren’t nefarious. Considering the government’s track record on tech issues, perhaps people should think twice before asking the government to start regulating software prices.

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Comments on “UK Citizens Complain To Government About Expensive Vista”

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Steven says:

Special Versions?

While I’m not a big fan of MS products, it seems to me that the UK represents a riskier market for Vista as compared to the US.

I could be wrong on this, but I believe there have been more successful litigation against the Windows OS in the UK. I particularly remember MS having to create and sell a version of Windows with Media Player (which nobody bought).

Hmm. I’m defending MS pricing schemes, and I’m rooting for them in their patent suit against Lucent. I don’t feel good, I think I need to go lay down.

Anonymous Coward says:

People think Tony Blair is going to stop what he is doing and ask Microsoft, a private company, to lower their price so computer people can have the newest software at a reasonable price. I think maybe Tony has more pressing issues, like making sure the country is secure and people have jobs ext? Making sure Microsoft is giving a far price is not one of them. People need to get their head out of the clouds and get real.

JJ says:


Europeans complain that MS is a monopoly, but when MS opens the doors for competition by raising the prices, everyone complains.

I don’t understand.

Don’t like the price, then dont buy it. Stick with XP for now, or install a different brand OS.

FYI, Vista is not that great. I just bought a brand new PC with Vista and find that my older PC’s that run XP are much faster and more stable.

Boost says:

Online sales

I suppose, though I could be wrong, that Microsoft could just provide vista through download. Then they wouldn’t need to technically import and the cost of making the sale would fall to virtually nothing. You could charge the market price (whatever that is for shitty over burdened software packages) and make a killing.

In other news, why the hell does everyone complain about a brand new OS every time it comes out? Have you all forgotten that the last time MS came out with a new version of windows, it took them a while to beat the bugs out? Why would this version be any different? If you don’t want to put up with the new OS growing pains then wait a year before you upgrade. You can still buy computers with XP pro instead of Vista. So what is the problem?

Enough ranting…

Anonymous Coward says:

I’m guessing most of these commenters don’t actually leave in the UK, or for that matter Europe.

Here in the UK, EVERYTHING we get from the US is much more expensive. For example itunes sells songs at £0.99 or it may be £0.79 now but isn’t it $0.89 – $0.99 in the US?

The PS3 will cost £435 here. For you yanks that’s $834. Yes and it does not come with hardware emulation but software emulation which means it’s technically CHEAPER to manufacture than the PS3 you get in Japan and the US.

You can take almost any electronic product and simple replace the dollar sign with the pound sign and fuck the fact the pound is almost worth two dollars. But then, I’m used to being fucked by the US.

It’s why I’ll be getting Visa from a torrent.

misanthropic humanist says:

Re: Re:

Here in the UK, EVERYTHING is more expensive. Food is about 30% more than in the rest of Europe and of a far lower quality. Housing is now practically unobtainable by ordinary people, you either pay 10 times your salary to live in a tiny 8 x 8 substandard cardboard box built by fly-by-night property developers in which you can hear your neighbours every breath, or you live in shared rented accomodation. Fuel, road tax, water, electricity is all sky high. Meanwhile wages are insultingly low. We don’t call it “Rip-off Britain” for nothing, everything here is a scam and the government rakes in the most obscene level of taxes. We are overpopulated to an uncomfortable degree, paralysed by a frankly laughable apology for a public transport system, our hospitals are decaying, our schools are unfit to educate our children and our daily movements are watched and scrutinised by a massive surviellance network of cameras on every street.

There is a massive exodus of British people who have lived here for generations. 40% of people at retirement age are leaving for Europe or Australia and huge numbers of people my own age are thinking
of relocating to a better country.

Whatever you think you know about Britain, trust me, expensive software and techno toys are the least of our worries.

Cixelsid says:

Re: Re: by misanthropic humanist

Yeah, don’t worry, those number are quickly balanced by the influx of common wealth citizens into your country. I hear these days in London you can’t walk two steps without bumping into one or two Afrikaans boertjies milling around aimlessly. That’s what you get for trying to rule the world. BTW no matter how shite it is in Britain, it doesn’t compare to Zim, or a hundred other similar countries where people will give away their first born for a kidney and steak pie.

Fred says:

It wasn't "too much security"

The concern wasn’t that it had “too much security”. The concern was that the way security was implemented precluded using any security tools except those from Microsoft. This is a serious concern given Microsoft’s record on security and it would also allow Microsoft to leverage it’s desktop monopoly to eliminate competition thus giving them a monopoly in another field. This would expand the desktop mon-culture into the desktop security arena which is extremely dangerous for a long list of reasons.

Bob Jones says:

Re: UK Citizens?

Turn off the talk radio, put down your copy of Bill O’Reillys book, turn off the TV playing Fox News Channel … and learn what socialism is.

There wouldn’t be a Microsoft or a Windows, or a stock exchange, or any private property, in a socialist state … none of that, socialism isn’t the government setting prices, it is the government providing everything for the people – with no private property or earnings allowed.

Europe isn’t socialism, I know Bill O’Reilly says it is, but he is clearly wrong in this instance, its capitalism, do we have benefit states? Yes, not socialism though … and the government isn’t setting Microsofts prices, these are just angry petitioners wanting that because they hope it would make it cheaper …

Now you have learnt your first lesson on the real world outside the USA … next week, how to locate Britain on the map, and no it isn’t bordering the US.

TO says:

My wife visited London recently and was shocked by the high prices compared to US/Canada. Even everyday items we take for granted are impossibly expensive. Something is bloody not right over there.

Re Microsoft Vista pricing. When you have everyday Joe complaining pricing about a common but essential product, it is a sign that people are seeing it as a utility – like electricity. We on this side of the pond don’t see Windows as utility yet. But you Brits are somewhat ahead of us in the sociology department and therefore more prone to wave the government regulation flag on Windows.

Anyway, I hope you can get download at a better price.

Nick (user link) says:

Swap pounds for dollars

The product is bit for bit identical, and I’ll bet the disks are made by Dubya’s friends in Communist China anyway… And yes, us brits get very upset when US companies charge us getting on for double for software.
(Oh, and to the Yanks complaining about prices here, this is pretty much a result of your moronic president trashing the dollar / your economy).

Enrico Suarve says:

Thats what governments are for

Considering the government’s track record on tech issues, perhaps people should think twice before asking the government to start regulating software prices

Sorry but this is not a tech issue – this is basically a trade issue relating to the now pretty much standard practice of charging an inflated price for goods in the UK for no good reason – Techdirt even had a similar article arguing the other way last week

Our sales tax on goods (VAT) is 17.5% and shipping an individual CD from one side of the Atlantic to the other is a few dollars, likely to be cents by the time you account for volume. So no I don’t think this is a legitimate cost increase

What I hope you are seeing here is people in the UK finally trying to get the government to do something about this in the same manner as is already practiced in other western countries

I hope this doesn’t stop here and is extended to other goods and services which frankly cost more here for no good reason

For instance we were always told cars cost more in the UK due to the need to make them left hand drive and the cost of importing. A few years ago Nissan opened a car factory in the UK and it was still cheaper to go to Germany, buy a left hand drive car built in the UK, drive it back and pay the taxes than to buy it in the UK… This has now changed and prices have dropped thanks to government legislation but it highlights the problem neatly I think

For those who are interested the petition is at

Chronno S. Trigger says:

Vista costs too much.

Vista costs too much everywhere. $600 (ultimate) is way too much for that bloated peace of software cluster F***. $200 (Price of cheapest upgrade) is too much.

And remember kiddies, your not buying the data or the CD, your buying the key. $200-$600 for a 5×5 set of letters and numbers. The CD (and data on it) is $30.

To try to be on topic it douse suck that everyone is trying to stick it to the UK. Why is that?

Bob Jones says:

God the amount of anti-US, and then anti-European, vitriol in these comments is shocking.

Firstly, Vista costs more, big deal … a lot does, we earn more and the truth is a majority of us are willing to pay more. Most companies pricing isn’t based on how much it costs to make, how much money they’d like to make, or how much the EU sued them for, its based on how much the market will pay … the British, and European, market has more money to pay with and is willing to give that much money away.

For those who claim Europe is a socialist state, turn off Bill o’Reilly and find a guy who has any clue what the hell he is bloviating about … I like Bill but he has absolutley no idea what the hell socialism or Europe is about, socialism is where there is no private property – no private company – no money, the government just hands out food and eletricity usually on money it gained by selling oil or gas to foreign countries. Does that sound like Europe to you? No! We may have a little more government taxation and benefits than your countyr, which has 40% of people below the poverty line, but it isn’t socialism … we have private companies, we have private markets, we have a stock exchange for god sake … Venuzeula, Cuba – real socialist states, doesn’t.

Now this petition isn’t going anywhere, its just a chance to vent off – now here is the big difference between British and Americans, the British moan, the Americans sue …

smitty11 says:

listen guys yes vista is way over priced anywhere but whats the use moaning about it as les bufton said we need to vote with our wallets and the way to do that is not to buy it if these big shot companies realise that they are not selling an overpriced product than more times than not the price usually drops dramatically until people start buying it then the price goes back up, all these companies are after is money and if they don’t get it then they begon to panic and drop their prices so people buy and then they start making money again even though its not as much as they first hope for.
so all i’ll say is stop moaning don’t buy it let the price drop (dramtically) so it only costs about 50-80 pounds and then buy it as quick as you can before they manage to put the price back up.
and yes it works for nearly every big shot company that overprices their products look at sony and how quick the PS2 prices dropped when it was first released and the PS3 seems to be doing the same

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