Booze, Baseball, and another "B"

Saturday, October 01, 2005

Some cheese with your whine?...

$22.75

That's how much Microsoft has decided Windows is worth in the Indian market. Here in the US, Windows XP costs 10 times that much.

Why the low price? Because MS is concerned about combating piracy.

Here in the US, we're assaulted with anti-piracy measures, advertising, and warnings left and right, and we're still paying over $200 for Windows (at the retail level at least). All we hear is Hollywood, the music industry, and software giants such as Microsoft whining left and right about piracy killing off their profits, keeping people from buying new items, etc. Why not offer low-cost versions of their software here to combat piracy?

Don't get me wrong, I use legal non-pirated software, but having spoken to people who do use pirated software (including Windows), you can't help but sympathize with them; they need an OS but aren't willing to give up their car payment to get it, so they get a pirated version. They can't have access to Windows updates from Microsoft, thus making their computers more vulnerable to exploits such as viruses and hacks, and spreading the security issues that MS a couple years ago was so concerned about fighting.

What would happen if there were $22.75 versions of Windows available here in the US? LESS PIRACY.

With the new Windows Vista coming out sometime in the next 5 years, Microsoft should be thinking about trying this Indian pricing model here in the US. The same goes for Office. As a student, you have access to the cheapest Office bundle available, which comes with Word, Excel and PowerPoint. While those are all of the programs most people will need, there are also a lot of people who need Access too. What does a student get to pay for Office? $150! On top of that, they're supposed to think that's a bargain! When you factor in the $400 you're spending on books each quarter, rising tuition, escalating meal and housing prices, and the increasing price of gas, it becomes tougher and tougher for a student to be able to spring for Office at the "value" price of $150.

When you have the most widely used software on the planet, it should be much more of an option for you to price it where people can actually afford to buy it than if you're a small company selling 100 licenses per year.

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