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Brits to pay 70 per cent more for Office 2007

By Barry Collins

Posted on 29 Nov 2006 at 09:58

Confidential Microsoft figures reveal the estimated retail price of Office 2007 Ultimate edition in the UK will be a staggering £600 - 68 per cent more expensive than Microsoft's suggested US retail price, based on current exchange rates.

The pricing details, which were meant for internal use within Microsoft UK, reveal similar price hikes are expected for other editions. Professional is priced at £449.99 (72 per cent more than the US), Small Business at £399.99 (69 per cent increase) and Standard at £349.99 (67 per cent increase).

The figures suggest that British buyers will once again be forced to pay a huge price premium over their US counterparts for exactly the same piece of software.

Microsoft said it estimates UK retail prices based on confidential talks with its retail partners. '[The retailers] discuss with us what they would like to charge for it. We have an analyst who works the range of prices out
and takes an average,' a spokesperson told PC Pro.

However, the company was keen to distance itself from blame for the latest rip-off of British buyers. 'It's up to our partners to set the pricing. We're not allowed to fix prices - that would be illegal,' a Microsoft spokesman said.

Microsoft refused to answer whether the cost price of Office 2007 is the same for both US and UK retailers. However, it did repeat long-held arguments that fluctuations in the exchange rate, regional taxation and different channels of retail distribution are possible reasons for the price discrepancies.

Few UK retailers have announced their pricing for Office 2007 at the time of going to press, but those that have appear to be closer to Microsoft's UK estimates than the official US pricing.

SMC Direct prices the Ultimate edition at £534.13 (inc Vat) while Greymatter.com has it at £523.10, both significantly higher than the suggested US price of £357 (based on the current exchange rate).

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