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Microsoft Raises UK Prices By a Third and Can't Rule Out Future Hikes

timothy posted more than 2 years ago | from the such-small-portions dept.

Microsoft 185

New submitter DerekduPreez writes "Microsoft has revealed that it will increase volume licencing prices in the UK by an average of 29 percent to adjust for the 'sustained currency differences between European countries'. UK businesses have until 1st July to place their orders under the current prices before the changes take effect. Microsoft claims that because of sustained differences between the British Pound and the Euro, price spikes are necessary to maintain consistency across the region. Microsoft also confirmed that it could not rule out future increases, as it will continue to monitor currency movements and may make further adjustments if there are large fluctuations."

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185 comments

The British are proud of their Pound (1)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#39877405)

They even advertise "no Euros" as an advantage to staying in the country 2012. It's a pity they can't play with the other kids.

Re:The British are proud of their Pound (0)

Spad (470073) | more than 2 years ago | (#39877453)

It's hardly our fault that the Euro has been going down the pan faster than the Pound; we get screwed enough when it comes to the price of goods without adding to it voluntarily.

Re:The British are proud of their Pound (5, Interesting)

aliquis (678370) | more than 2 years ago | (#39877475)

Isn't the issue the other way around?

The pound down more than the euro and hence price increases in pound?

You've got massive QE and hence weak pound.

Re:The British are proud of their Pound (3, Informative)

CriticalAnalysis (2631225) | more than 2 years ago | (#39877595)

Exactly this. Euro is pretty much where it has always been. Pound is losing its value. Microsoft has every right to do it. Compared to Google they just have to do it openly - even Google has been steadily rising their advertising for the UK because of differences in currency values. They just do it silently behind the scenes.

Re:The British are proud of their Pound (1)

aliquis (678370) | more than 2 years ago | (#39877613)

This is written in Swedish but can easily be translated with Google translate:
http://www.borstjanaren.se/borst/borstArticleDetails/article_id/8816 [borstjanaren.se]

Borrowed 500 billion £.
Added 325 billion £Âto the banking system.
An interest rate around 0.5% for three years.

GDP @Â1500 billion £Âand according to that article / blog post the £Âis down 30%.

Guess why Microsoft increase the prices (or why the £Âis down to begin with.)

GBP/SEK, click [3 år]:
https://www.avanza.se/aza/aktieroptioner/indikatorer/indikator.jsp?orderbookId=108703&timeframe=3year [avanza.se]

Re:The British are proud of their Pound (4, Informative)

marcosdumay (620877) | more than 2 years ago | (#39878131)

That's the nicest thing about Google's business model. They don't have to raise their prices, as the prices are "automaticaly" set by their clients on bids.

Re:The British are proud of their Pound (2)

Vlad_the_Inhaler (32958) | more than 2 years ago | (#39878853)

A year ago, one Euro was around 88 pence.
Now one Euro is somewhere around 81 pence. This is the same rate as during a temporary dip around 22 months ago. The last time the Euro was lower than that was in late summer 2008.

The Euro is going down against the Pound, not vice versa. There is less justification for this price hike than there has been at pretty much any time since late 2008.

Re:The British are proud of their Pound (3, Informative)

jalopezp (2622345) | more than 2 years ago | (#39878157)

The pound sterling may be doing worse than it ever has, but it's certainly faring better than the euro. View the last year's trend from yahoo! [yahoo.com]

Re:The British are proud of their Pound (1)

Dunbal (464142) | more than 2 years ago | (#39877535)

Today's exchange rate: 1 Euro = 1.31 US dollars. Pretty much where it has always been [yahoo.com] . Certainly it's off its all time highs. Certainly it's not at its all time lows. But yes, let's play the popular press's game of "The Euro is Dying!".

Re:The British are proud of their Pound (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#39877579)

Microsoft's kicking the Poms 'cos us Aussies are about to expose them as price-gougers.
http://techcrunch.com/2012/04/30/australian-price-gouging-inquiry-targets-apple-microsoft-and-others/ [techcrunch.com]

They have to make up the difference somewhere, so it's the pasty boys who'll be dusting the moths out of their wallets for a change.

I'm good with that.

Re:The British are proud of their Pound (2, Interesting)

LifesABeach (234436) | more than 2 years ago | (#39878205)

I find it curious that U.K. Spikes Pirate Bay [slashdot.org] , and Microsoft raises prices. Coincidence? I think not.

Re:The British are proud of their Pound (2)

crazyjj (2598719) | more than 2 years ago | (#39877601)

I don't think it's the Euro that's the problem. Sounds like it's the pound. Looks [x-rates.com] like the U.S. dollar has been growing against the pound pretty consistently in recent months.

Re:The British are proud of their Pound (4, Insightful)

Dunbal (464142) | more than 2 years ago | (#39877621)

the U.S. dollar has been growing against the pound

Not sure what you mean by growing, I see a weakening US dollar. But we all know that - the Fed keeps printing them, how can the US dollar not get weaker? And your graph supports this. So if the US dollar gets weaker the answer is to charge more pounds? This is just a cash grab by Microsoft with some currency exchange gloss to hide the fact that they're being greedy suckers, they see more value in holding pounds than dollars, and hardly anyone bothers to take 30 secs to understand exchange rates properly.

Re:The British are proud of their Pound (1)

DrgnDancer (137700) | more than 2 years ago | (#39877861)

Umm. Yeah... The US dollar is currently trading at about 1:1.6 with the Pound, well stronger than the 1:2 that it had been for quite a while. It's also about 1:1.3 against the Euro, well off the 1:1.6 that it had been. The Dollar has been strengthening the last year or so. that's not completely a good thing (it hurts our exports), but it's definitely a true thing. For all it's current weaknesses, the US economy is considered relatively strong vs Europe and good chunks of Asia right now.

Re:The British are proud of their Pound (4, Informative)

Dunbal (464142) | more than 2 years ago | (#39877889)

You need $1.61 to buy a pound today, when yesterday you needed $1.55 to buy the same pound. That is a weakening dollar (or a strengthening pound) and not the opposite.

Re:The British are proud of their Pound (1)

PerfectionLost (1004287) | more than 2 years ago | (#39877975)

Are you calling us a backwards nation?!?!?!

(You are right though. I can't believe those guys think its the dollar getting stronger. They must be Republicans.)

Re:The British are proud of their Pound (1)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#39878379)

Over the long term (pre-2008 versus post-2008), the US dollar has gotten stronger with respect to the British Pound, going from about 2 US dollars per British pound to "only" 1.5 to 1.6. That's mostly due to people fleeing other currencies for the "safe" haven of US dollars during the financial crisis of 2008-2009. But more recently (since the start of 2012), the US dollar has been getting weaker, albeit at a smaller magnitude. More like 1.6 instead of 1.5, but that's within the typical variation seen since 2008, so it's not much of a trend yet. If it starts climbing back up towards 1.8 or 2.0, then things will start to approach where they were at before 2008.

It all depends on the time sample taken. This graph [miketodd.net] kind of says it all for the recent history. If you want to see the older history there are some good links on that page.

Re:The British are proud of their Pound (1)

Archangel Michael (180766) | more than 2 years ago | (#39878455)

If the dollar is getting weaker, then that wouldn't bode well for Obama, don't you think? Of course, when the dollar goes up, it is bad, when the dollar goes down it is bad ... so ... ;)

Re:The British are proud of their Pound (1)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#39878245)

I'm not sure where you got the $1.55; this chart seems to support the strengthening dollar argument.

https://www.google.com/finance?hl=en&biw=1680&bih=963&q=CURRENCY:GBPUSD

Re:The British are proud of their Pound (1)

afidel (530433) | more than 2 years ago | (#39878607)

Exactly, look at that chart for the 5 year horizon and you see the Pound losing about 16% against the Euro, 19% against the US Dollar, 35% against the Australian Dollar and a whopping 46% against the Yen!

Re:The British are proud of their Pound (3, Informative)

PremiumCarrion (861236) | more than 2 years ago | (#39877625)

The graph you linked shows the opposite of that.

Re:The British are proud of their Pound (1)

Dunbal (464142) | more than 2 years ago | (#39877897)

But his post is a shining example of how people simply refuse to understand exchange rates.

Re:The British are proud of their Pound (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#39877935)

"People" includes Microsoft if this article is anything to go by.

Re:The British are proud of their Pound (2)

Dunbal (464142) | more than 2 years ago | (#39877979)

No, Microsoft is being smart and stocking up on pounds, as a hedge against an even weaker dollar in the future.

Re:The British are proud of their Pound (-1, Troll)

Dishevel (1105119) | more than 2 years ago | (#39877947)

The Euro is fine.
It is Europe that is dying.
The US will die as well. All socialism fails.

Re:The British are proud of their Pound (5, Insightful)

CohibaVancouver (864662) | more than 2 years ago | (#39878389)

All socialism fails

Correct, however you need to head to the library and do some reading on what socialism actually is (unless the library is too 'socialist' for you).

Europe, Canada etc. are not socialist nations. Do they have social programs for their citizens? Yes. However, socialism is defined as state ownership of enterprises. A good example of a socialst nation is Cuba - The state owns all means of production. Cuba is failing, which is why they are moving away from socialism.

Re:The British are proud of their Pound (1)

Archangel Michael (180766) | more than 2 years ago | (#39878467)

You mean like how the US owns a chunk of GM?

Re:The British are proud of their Pound (-1, Troll)

Dishevel (1105119) | more than 2 years ago | (#39878567)

I never called Europe or the US socialist.
I stated that Socialism fails.
Europe has tons of socialism. The US has too much of it as well.
All the socialism in these parts of the world are hurting them.

Re:The British are proud of their Pound (1)

digitig (1056110) | more than 2 years ago | (#39878075)

Today's exchange rate: 1 Euro = 1.31 US dollars. Pretty much where it has always been [yahoo.com] .

What that tells the rest of us is that the US$ has problems too.

Re:The British are proud of their Pound (1)

jo_ham (604554) | more than 2 years ago | (#39877561)

I really wish we could either shit or get off the pot.

We're not all crazy Europhobic trying to claim that "Brussels" dictating how curved a banana has to be if you plan to sell it, or other ridiculous nonsense. It's like the Tories (and parties like UKIP) want all of the benefits to the UK of close european trade, but don't want to make any of the concessions (like standardising on a currency). Just makes it awkward.

Re:The British are proud of their Pound (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#39877825)

We're not all crazy Europhobic trying to claim that "Brussels" dictating how curved a banana has to be if you plan to sell it, or other ridiculous nonsense.

The vast majority of us are though.

Re:The British are proud of their Pound (2)

gbjbaanb (229885) | more than 2 years ago | (#39877855)

You don't need a common currency to have free trade - the Scandinavian countries do it quite happily at the moment.

Nor do you need an European Parliament, and Commission, to decide laws affecting each country. (note: we still don't have valid trade laws that promote common trading - VAT is still all over the place in each country for example). And note that the EC still hasn't had its accounts signed off - and the gravy train of expenses and other payments probably means we will never get open accountability from them.

Many eurosceptics want trade and integration with the rest of Europe, its just that they do not want the remarkably dodgy political establishment that we currently have there.

Re:The British are proud of their Pound (2, Funny)

digitig (1056110) | more than 2 years ago | (#39878143)

And note that the EC still hasn't had its accounts signed off - and the gravy train of expenses and other payments probably means we will never get open accountability from them.

A common cry of the Eurosceptics -- for some reason missing out the fact that most UK government departments haven't had their accounts signed off in many years either, and the gravy train of expenses and other payments probably means we will never get open accountability from them. But hey, at least it's honest-to-goodness British corruption, not like that nasty foreign sort, eh?

Re:The British are proud of their Pound (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#39878767)

And note that the EC still hasn't had its accounts signed off - and the gravy train of expenses and other payments probably means we will never get open accountability from them.

A common cry of the Eurosceptics -- for some reason missing out the fact that most UK government departments haven't had their accounts signed off in many years either, and the gravy train of expenses and other payments probably means we will never get open accountability from them. But hey, at least it's honest-to-goodness British corruption, not like that nasty foreign sort, eh?

Until the UK Government moves to a full modern accounting standard rather than cash accounting, it will never be possible to sign-off the accounts in any detail. This is a known problem and is being addressed.

Re:The British are proud of their Pound (3, Interesting)

Xest (935314) | more than 2 years ago | (#39878325)

"Nor do you need an European Parliament, and Commission, to decide laws affecting each country."

That's because it's not just about free trade, but utilising Europe's combined resources to make Europe more prosperous as a whole - bringing the poorer Eastern European nations up to the standards of Western Europe and also making sure Europeans share some bare minimum sets of rights. This in itself has an effect on free trade though, as free trade isn't a good thing if one country in the free trade group has no laws on slave Labour and so can jack all the manufacturing business from the others.

"VAT is still all over the place in each country for example"

What do you mean all over the place? there are restrictions on how high and high low it can be so it's only "all over the place" within a fairly narrow boundary of values. I'm not really sure what you're arguing for either, on one hand you seem to think it's bad Europe takes power away from individual nations, yet here you seem to also think it's bad that countries have the freedom to at least change VAT to some extent? It's like you're contradicting your own argument for the sake of having a pop at the EU.

"Many eurosceptics want trade and integration with the rest of Europe"

They don't want integration, they just want to be able to exploit it where it suits them, and ignore it when it doesn't. The problem is that's not a sound basis for a two way relationship and ultimately most Eurosceptic viewpoints tend to boil down to outright xenophobia. UKIP comes up with some good ideas, but the more you watch them, the more you read their policies, the more you realise they're really no that much different to the BNP, they're just only slightly less overtly racist but are certainly at least just as fascist. Ironically they're also the ones who have been most guilty of corruption in terms of stealing expenses and so forth.

Some of the UK's Tories are less xenophobic, but their intentions are no more moral, their arguments come down to the fact they're just demanding more power for themselves, not for a care for the country and the people in it - it's no suprise there is a strong correlation between the Tories that are anti-EU and the Tories that support the undemocratic first past the post system that gives parties like the Tories and Labour grossly more power than the electorate voted them to have. The number of eurosceptics whose position is genuinely based on rationality and a care for the British population rather than a lust for greater power or irrational xenophobia is probably less than 10 out of 650 MPs.

Whilst the European Parliament and Commission is without a doubt nowhere near perfect and has many problems, I find it rather odd when Eurosceptics, complain about corruption as a reason for wanting to get out. Britain is after all the country that has for the last few years seen scandal after scandal after scandal, and not just small ones - we're referring to those that hit right at the heart of democracy, whether it's expenses, peerages for sale, cash for votes, or phone hacking at every level of British society, to Jeremy Hunt not fulfilling his legal obligation to be impartial. There's a good reason Murdoch is himself a Eurosceptic and pushes that agenda in his British media - because he recognises that it's the biggest threat to his immensly corrupt stranglehold on the British establishment.

Europe may well be corrupt, but compared to our government? It's still far better.

Re:The British are proud of their Pound (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#39878813)

Whilst the European Parliament and Commission is without a doubt nowhere near perfect and has many problems, I find it rather odd when Eurosceptics, complain about corruption as a reason for wanting to get out. Britain is after all the country that has for the last few years seen scandal after scandal after scandal, and not just small ones - we're referring to those that hit right at the heart of democracy, whether it's expenses, peerages for sale, cash for votes, or phone hacking at every level of British society, to Jeremy Hunt not fulfilling his legal obligation to be impartial. There's a good reason Murdoch is himself a Eurosceptic and pushes that agenda in his British media - because he recognises that it's the biggest threat to his immensly corrupt stranglehold on the British establishment.

Europe may well be corrupt, but compared to our government? It's still far better.

The fact that these scandals can be exposed in Britain is a strength not a weakness as you imply. Now that they have been exposed action can be taken against them. I am not a Eurosceptic but these types of issues are known to exist in even greater amounts in France, Italy, Greece and other countries but are never exposed. We should be pushing for greater British-style transparency not more opaque bureaucracy in the EU.

Re:The British are proud of their Pound (1)

TheMathemagician (2515102) | more than 2 years ago | (#39877603)

Yes that seems fair since the pound has declined by 29% against the Euro over the past year ... except ... that it's actually risen by 10% ... but hey why let facts get in the way of some price gouging. We should get a discount as they don't have to translate all the EULAs into foreign languages! And to the idiots advocating Britain joining the Euro ... do you live in a cave? There's a strong possibility that the Euro will disintegrate imminently.

Re:The British are proud of their Pound (1)

Dunbal (464142) | more than 2 years ago | (#39877631)

There's a strong possibility that the Euro will disintegrate imminently.

There is the absolute certainty that all currencies will disintegrate eventually. However I'm not so sure which will go first, the Euro or the US dollar. Europe's biggest problem is the non-uniformity of its financial policies but on the other hand it's the greatest safeguard. The US, on the other hand, is 100% aligned and on board to sink its own currency and dissent is not even talked about let alone permitted.

Re:The British are proud of their Pound (3, Insightful)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#39877733)

If dissent is not permitted, how long do you think it will be before the secret police show up to take you away?

Re:The British are proud of their Pound (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#39877667)

And it's still way down over the last 5 years. But hey, don't let facts get in the way.

Since when... (-1, Troll)

oPless (63249) | more than 2 years ago | (#39877413)

When has 29% been a third?

BASIC MATHS SKILLS PLEASE!

Yes I am yelling you stupid lameass fascist filter

Pedantic flame bate. (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#39877465)

...

Re:Since when... (1)

Spad (470073) | more than 2 years ago | (#39877469)

It's worse than you think, the majority of licensing are only increasing by 20-25% while Open Value is going up by 33.5%, which is presumably where the 1/3 figure comes from, so the "average" quoted isn't even representative of the actual changes.

Re:Since when... (1)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#39877669)

For the pedantic, the new headline should read:

Microsoft Raises UK Prices by 29 100ths, and oPless and Spad Can Now Go Back To Rearranging The Cutlery Drawer

you're welcome,

Re:Since when... (3, Interesting)

Bigby (659157) | more than 2 years ago | (#39877527)

Human-speak recognizes 1/2, 1/3, 2/3, 1/4, 3/4 and maybe 1/5, 2/5, 3/5, and 4/5. Once you go beyond that, the normal human brain will have to think for a period of time.

So the nearby choices are 50%, 33%, 25%, or 20%. In the interest of extra dramatization, it was the one higher that was picked. 1/3.

Where would you draw the line? Would you use two-seventh?

What if the Pound goes down again? (1)

michelcolman (1208008) | more than 2 years ago | (#39877467)

Will they lower their UK prices in that case? Or will they just raise euro prices to compensate?

Re:What if the Pound goes down again? (1)

OliWarner (1529079) | more than 2 years ago | (#39877585)

Well, quite. International companies use exchange rates changes as an excuse to slowly edge the price up across the board.

And just to echo some of the other /.ers - I really do hope UK companies give Ubuntu (et al) a decent evaluation before they make any licensing decisions.

Re:What if the Pound goes down again? (1)

BasilBrush (643681) | more than 2 years ago | (#39877597)

Given that they are an American company, presumably they use the US price as the standard, and judge large currency fluctuations from that.

Re:What if the Pound goes down again? (1)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#39877683)

Since the pound doesn't actually seem to have gone down I don't think any sensible conclusions can be drawn. Since 2008 the pound has never been more than 3% above its current value against the dollar (for monthly averages). So unless Microsoft has been running prices 30% too low for 3 years the reason they gave was fallacious.

Re:What if the Pound goes down again? (1)

digitig (1056110) | more than 2 years ago | (#39878179)

So unless Microsoft has been running prices 30% too low for 3 years the reason they gave was fallacious.

No. For it to be fallacious it would at least have to be plausible.

Re:What if the Pound goes down again? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#39877745)

Re:What if the Pound goes down again? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#39877871)

you're looking at that the wrong way thats how many Pounds a Euro will buy press the invert button at the top to see how many Euros you get to the Pound

Re:What if the Pound goes down again? (2)

wjousts (1529427) | more than 2 years ago | (#39877957)

I think you are reading that graph back-asswards. Click on invert. On November 22nd, 2011 £1 sterling would buy you €1.15. On May 2nd, 2012 that same £1 will buy you €1.23. That's the opposite of what you are trying to argue.

Or to put it another way, in November a Euro would cost you 86p. Today it'll cost you 81p. That means the Euro is worth less, not the pound.

Re:What if the Pound goes down again? (2)

niftydude (1745144) | more than 2 years ago | (#39877821)

Will they lower their UK prices in that case? Or will they just raise euro prices to compensate?

Well the Oz dollar has gone from $US0.80 to $US1.04 in the last few years, and MS haven't lowered their prices at all there, so I guess you have your answer.

Re:What if the Pound goes down again? (1)

tukang (1209392) | more than 2 years ago | (#39878447)

Why would they lower prices if the pound loses value? They'd want more pounds in that case ...

Sound like a kick in the NUTS! (1)

na1led (1030470) | more than 2 years ago | (#39877481)

from an already vulnerable economy. Maybe this will finally spur open source platforms such as Linux.

Re:Sound like a kick in the NUTS! (1)

jellomizer (103300) | more than 2 years ago | (#39877521)

Sorry... No it isn't.
In the grand scheme of things license cost is just a drop in the bucket. Also the license cost for most of the products are absorbed in the cost of the equipment.
If it was just license price was the major issue Linux would have regained massive market share when Windows XP came out.

Liars (1)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#39877493)

Exchange rates are a matter of public record. The pound has been gradually strengthening NOT WEAKENING against the euro for the last year and is now at a three year high.

There is only one reason for this:

Because they can.

Micro$oft, don't insult our intelligence by being such a bare faced liar.

Re:Liars (0)

c0lo (1497653) | more than 2 years ago | (#39877567)

Micro$oft, don't insult our intelligence by being such a bare faced liar.

Hear, hear... at least a niqab would be in order.

Re:Liars (1)

michelcolman (1208008) | more than 2 years ago | (#39877581)

It has since the beginning of 2009, but it was way higher before that. Take a look at the 5 year chart. The Pound went from almost 1.5 down to 1.04 and is now only back up to 1.22. So, as much as I hate Microsoft, I guess you could call that a "sustained weakness" even though the recent trend is certainly up.

Re:Liars (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#39877785)

That's true, but why didn't they do this three years ago when the pound was at its weakest? Er, actually they did, when they set the initial prices for Windows 7 in Euros and Pounds based on the exchange rates at the time.

This price hike is, as we say over here, "taking the piss". And claiming it's because of exchange rates is insulting our intelligence.

Microsoft is misunderstood. (3, Insightful)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#39877873)

Microsoft is widely misunderstood. People think Microsoft is a software company that is sometimes abusive. That's wrong. Microsoft is an abuse company that uses software to deliver abuse.

Just my opinion, but I'm not the only one who thinks that way.

Re:Liars (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#39877791)

Or they can be like Adobe where their pricing scheme is $1.00 = £1.00

Got yea... (1)

c0lo (1497653) | more than 2 years ago | (#39877505)

Got yea [channelregister.co.uk] by the balls, now pay up or sing soprano.

It's a costly process (-1)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#39877507)

It's a costly process to localize the software into Eurotrash "English".

Re:It's a costly process (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#39878203)

Well, you have to translate the legalese from American "you fucking worthless consumer peons have no rights under corporations" to European "what the fuck, these little shits have rights in exchange for the money they pay?".

Meh! (3, Interesting)

Polizei (1782856) | more than 2 years ago | (#39877509)

So, M$ are urging people to order, respectively buy Win7's 'till 1st of July, so they can release Win8 in August...
Nice!

Problem for Ireland (1, Insightful)

ObsessiveMathsFreak (773371) | more than 2 years ago | (#39877515)

This is a pretty obscure outcome of the recent Quantitative Easing of the Fed and the Bank of England, and a little confusing as Microsoft is a US company.

You have to remember that Microsoft's main European headquarters is in Dublin in Ireland, and hence operates in Euros. The quantitative easing of the pound means that the UK goods become cheaper to export, and that conversely, it becomes more expensive for UK-ians to import good from abroad. In this case, it has become 33% more expensive for them to import MS software from Ireland.

Which raises the question: Why should Microsoft continue to choose Dublin as their main European base of operations if this is the kind of price hikes they will be forced to impose on perhaps their single largest European market? Low corporation tax rates? Not if that treaty gets passed sunshine.

This is less a problem for Microsoft--who can move around--than it is for Ireland, which is rapidly becoming unattractive to high tech industries who, due to the falling US and UK currencies, are seeing their costs soar in Dublin. (By the way, this is occurring in the midst of a period of debt induced stagflation in Ireland as well.) The problem is only going to get worse the longer the ECB and Bundesbank keep putting their banking system before the citizens of the continent.

Microsoft aren't stupid, and as long as they can have a low cost, english speaking centre, with a currency pegged or floating steadily alongside Sterling, they will stay in Dublin. If they can only get an expensive, high tax centre pegged to the Deutschmark, they'll just move to London, or York, or whatever. The same goes for all the other high tech industries in Ireland. Vint Cerf's words this week explain that Ireland still has potential, despite government indifference towards the IT sector; but I don't think it has any under the euro.

This is just yet another economic case study which convinces me that Ireland needs to vote No on the 31st of this month, get the hell out of the Euro as fast as possible, and balance its budget in one fell swoop THIS YEAR. No more excuses.

(P.S. I believe in the EU, not the Euro.)

Re:Problem for Ireland (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#39877551)

In this case, it has become 33% more expensive for them to import MS software from Ireland

What "imports"? There are no physical goods involved.

Variation in prices resulting from exchange rates only make sense when the raw materials and / labour required to make a product cross currency boundaries.

In Microsoft's case, neither applies.

Re:Problem for Ireland (1)

Albanach (527650) | more than 2 years ago | (#39877589)

This is a pretty obscure outcome of the recent Quantitative Easing of the Fed and the Bank of England, and a little confusing as Microsoft is a US company.

You have to remember that Microsoft's main European headquarters is in Dublin in Ireland, and hence operates in Euros. The quantitative easing of the pound means that the UK goods become cheaper to export, and that conversely, it becomes more expensive for UK-ians to import good from abroad. In this case, it has become 33% more expensive for them to import MS software from Ireland.

I'm not sure I follow. The Euro has hardly been outperforming Sterling [google.com]

Indeed over the past three years there pound has been steadily recovering its value against the Euro, which should make imports from the Eurozone more affordable, not less.

Now, compared to the US Dollar, the pound is well below where it was pre 1999, but has been quite stable for some time now. It seems very strange to be blaming 29% price changes on currency fluctuations that are no-where close to 29%

Re:Problem for Ireland (1)

master811 (874700) | more than 2 years ago | (#39877645)

This is a pretty obscure outcome of the recent Quantitative Easing of the Fed and the Bank of England, and a little confusing as Microsoft is a US company.

You have to remember that Microsoft's main European headquarters is in Dublin in Ireland, and hence operates in Euros. The quantitative easing of the pound means that the UK goods become cheaper to export, and that conversely, it becomes more expensive for UK-ians to import good from abroad. In this case, it has become 33% more expensive for them to import MS software from Ireland.

You have it completely the wrong way around as this has nothing to do with quantitative easing as the Pound is currently stronger against the Euro than at any point in the last few years. This would make imports CHEAPER, and hence exports more expensive to Europe. Now if they were dealing with USD, then that is another matter entirely as the Pound is still relatively weak against it compared to what it was a few years ago.

You can say British. (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#39877689)

There's no need to say UKians, since we have allowed a word to mean "those in the United Kingdom of England, Wales, Scotland and Northern Ireland".

That you don't particularly like USians is no reason to pretend there is no such word.

What you could do is find a word that means "Citizens of the 49(?) contiguous states of the United States of America" that won't include Canadians, exclude New Mexico but not include Mexico or the south american continent.

Re:Problem for Ireland (1)

thestudio_bob (894258) | more than 2 years ago | (#39877799)

Which raises the question: Why should Microsoft continue to choose Dublin

If I'm not mistaken, Dublin is a major Tax Haven for large corporations.

Re:Problem for Ireland (1)

CAPSLOCK2000 (27149) | more than 2 years ago | (#39877869)

You have to remember that Microsoft's main European headquarters is in Dublin in Ireland, and hence operates in Euros. The quantitative easing of the pound means that the UK goods become cheaper to export, and that conversely, it becomes more expensive for UK-ians to import good from abroad. In this case, it has become 33% more expensive for them to import MS software from Ireland.

Which raises the question: Why should Microsoft continue to choose Dublin as their main European base of operations if this is the kind of price hikes they will be forced to impose on perhaps their single largest European market? Low corporation tax rates? Not if that treaty gets passed sunshine.

This is less a problem for Microsoft--who can move around--than it is for Ireland, which is rapidly becoming unattractive to high tech industries who, due to the falling US and UK currencies, are seeing their costs soar in Dublin.

But where would they move to? Irelad is considered a tax-paradise. The only reason for having headquarters over there is the low tax-rate. If they move they will have to increase prices even further.

Re:Problem for Ireland (2)

digitig (1056110) | more than 2 years ago | (#39877977)

Which raises the question: Why should Microsoft continue to choose Dublin as their main European base of operations if this is the kind of price hikes they will be forced to impose on perhaps their single largest European market?

Why on Earth would the UK be Microsoft's single largest European market? What do you think they use in France, Germany, the Netherlands and so on?

Re:Problem for Ireland (1)

PremiumCarrion (861236) | more than 2 years ago | (#39878227)

Microsoft fears open sores in those countries

Re:Problem for Ireland (1)

digitig (1056110) | more than 2 years ago | (#39878331)

I'm UK based, but most of my work is in continental Europe. All of my clients use MS Office under MS Windows, and in some cases require that we use their templates with VBA macros, which pretty much prevents us using an open source office suite. Europe isn't the Gnu/Linux/Libre Office hotbed you seem to think it is.

The taste of a monopoly (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#39877519)

We feel it all the time.

29% is excessive greed (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#39877537)

The Dollar is higher against the pound than it was a year ago, as is the Euro. Even so the difference is about 0.08% not 29%.

Putting prices up by eight times the rate of inflation is just greed.

This is the same company that cut Partner licenses from 10 to 3 per product, while raising the price in the name of "piracy prevention". Surely these actions will simply have the reverse effect?

Re:29% is excessive greed (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#39877651)

You're half right, the Dollar is a teensy bit higher than it was a year ago against the Pound, however, the Euro is quite a bit LOWER against the Pound, not higher and Microsoft Europe are allegedly justifying this entirely on the Euro exchange rate, not the Dollar rate.

If I was a UK PC vendor I'd be buying licenses from a continental European supplier in Euros.

I do have to wonder if this is an effort to discourage, or at least profit from, the likes of Dabs, Novatech and Overclockers selling OEM versions to hobbyist system builders.

Time for a new "Ask Slashdot" post (1)

L4t3r4lu5 (1216702) | more than 2 years ago | (#39877565)

Are their any good online resources for rolling out Linux clients on a Windows domain? Mint, Ubuntu, Fedora, anything... I'm not particular familiar with any distro, so learning to administer any of them would be of benefit. I've no real need to use MS products in my environment, and am just aching for an excuse to switch.

Maybe by the time the switch is complete, OD will match AD in functionality. Win-win.

Re:Time for a new "Ask Slashdot" post (1)

h4rr4r (612664) | more than 2 years ago | (#39877599)

These days it is just easier to use Likewise Open.
It will do everything for you.

Before bothering with that though, setup a vm and learn about the distro you want to use. Learn about automation of updates, locking down the desktop etc, before you even bother with AD stuff.

Re:Time for a new "Ask Slashdot" post (1)

L4t3r4lu5 (1216702) | more than 2 years ago | (#39877761)

No VM necessary; I have Mint 11 as my desktop OS, just not linked to the domain. I've no great need to move away from it; It does what I need it to.

I guess learning about the other stuff comes from reading the documentation... Always a thrill! Thanks for your post.

Re:Time for a new "Ask Slashdot" post (2)

QuantumRiff (120817) | more than 2 years ago | (#39877679)

Why stick with a MS product as the core? look at Zentyal, which among other things, acts as a PDC in an easy to setup and configure way. There is no group policy (yet, samba 4 is due in zentyal 3.0) but you can push login scripts.

Re:Time for a new "Ask Slashdot" post (1)

h4rr4r (612664) | more than 2 years ago | (#39877715)

Or just use something like puppet. Group policy was a great design for its time, and for what it was working with. For an OS that does not have windows limitations with writing to open files and such, things can be done much more on the fly.

Re:Time for a new "Ask Slashdot" post (1)

ratboy666 (104074) | more than 2 years ago | (#39878049)

Indeed.

I know how to install a Linux server in an AD domain, but proper Linux clients these days?

Confuses me.

Windows doesn't do the "Unixy" stuff, so we maintain a separate sub-net with NIS, NFS and the other Unixy stuff. But I have no idea how to "log in" to the Windows AD domain. Some magic, obviously. And, after that login, SMB file shares should somehow be mapped -- if the pushed AD information can be made available, it could be parsed for the mount details.

This would certainly make my life much easier. Right now, I email documents and files to myself, then log in to a Windows client, launch IE, go to our OWA site and fetch the documents to plant into the file system for my Windows-only coworkers.

I also need the Windows box to change my Windows password (enforced every --- days here). OWA doesn't let me change the password, and neither does Evolution.

Kind of a wooden table approach. There must be a better way.

Re:Time for a new "Ask Slashdot" post (1)

marcosdumay (620877) | more than 2 years ago | (#39878295)

You can mount SMB shares like any other kind of network shares, using mount (they aren't dependent of AD). You'll probably use CIFS, as last time I looked, SMBFS was deprecated. There is a FUSE drive for that, so you can mount as a normal user (as always, KDE will mount it for you if you are using it).

Well, I have no idea how to replace NIS with AD, as I never had to do that. Samba 4 may help you, or not.

Re:Time for a new "Ask Slashdot" post (1)

afidel (530433) | more than 2 years ago | (#39878751)

Just use Kerberos for authentication, MS has their own dialect but the Linux libraries can all handle it at this point.

Re:Time for a new "Ask Slashdot" post (1)

Hatta (162192) | more than 2 years ago | (#39878243)

I just pass Samba the 'domain' option in my fstab to mount shares and ignore the rest of the AD crap.

No way out? Is M$ the only game in town? (0)

bogaboga (793279) | more than 2 years ago | (#39877609)

I know this is the "wrong" question to ask...but can a slashdotter authoritatively tell me that for all those volume licensees, Microsoft is the only game in town?

Heck, we now have a revamped Apple ecosystem, and Google's Chrome OS or Red Hat Linux would be a perfect fit for one [major] government department I visited a fortnight ago.

All their operations have credible OSS implementations and could be easily be ported to the web. You might wonder how I know...I know this because I am intimately familiar with their IT operations.

Re:No way out? Is M$ the only game in town? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#39877633)

We are an SPLA licensee (for dedicated servers and VMs). Some of our customers want Microsoft licenses for those. Microsoft set the (minimum) pricing irrespective of which of their licensing partners we use.

Re:No way out? Is M$ the only game in town? (1)

Overzeetop (214511) | more than 2 years ago | (#39878341)

It's all fun and games until someone needs to use a package that runs on windows only. Old stuff can probably be emulated (though I've had pretty mixed success with even simple programs in Oracle VMs), but the killers are the commercial packages which run only on windows and are absolute resource hogs. I suspect there are some in many industries, but it mine - structural engineering - AutoCAD is about the only game in town for archtiectural products, and many (if not most) of the analysis programs are Win only. All struggle to run in a native OS on the most modern hardware. Part of it is lazy-ass programming (I'm talking to you, AutoDesk), and part of it is just computational limits. If we're willing to go back to running a model and going out for a 2-3 hours lunch, or prepping models ahead of time to queue up to run after hours, it's an option, but an inefficient one.

There's also the issue of re-training. Never underestimate the inability for (or inefficiency in) people to learn a new OS paradigm. An extra £30 pales in comparison to the personnel cost of a half-day class to get everyone up to speed.

I am altering the deal... (1)

OwMyBrain (1476929) | more than 2 years ago | (#39877809)

Pray I don't alter it further.

What does the Euro have to do with this ? (2)

Builder (103701) | more than 2 years ago | (#39877843)

What does the relationship between the Euro and the Pound have to a supplier based in the USA who trades in dollars ?

Looking at http://www.x-rates.com/d/GBP/USD/graph120.html [x-rates.com] , the pound has been very close to the dollar for quite a while now. They're both weakening on the global markets, but they're keeping pretty good pace with each other.

Surprise! (1)

organgtool (966989) | more than 2 years ago | (#39877909)

Microsoft Exec 1: Our fiscal year is ending on June 30 and our revenue is barely larger than it was last year! What can we do to get more money?
Microsoft Exec 2: We could raise the price of our most successful product!
Microsoft Exec 1: I don't know - then we risk people switching over to Macs or Linux.
Microsoft Exec 3: What if we raise the price of Windows in just a single country?!
Microsoft Exec 1: I love it! The only question is which country should we raise the price? Which country has been the biggest thorn in our side and at the same time has the capital to afford a higher price?
Microsoft Exec 2: Well, it has to be somewhere in Europe. The EU has been more stringent about our aggressive business tactics than any other organization.
Microsoft Exec 3: And England is one of the more financially sound countries in the EU!
Microsoft Exec 1: Gentlemen, we've found our mark! Prepare your finest strippers and coke!

Whereas in Asia... (1)

initialE (758110) | more than 2 years ago | (#39877927)

Over here we buy our licenses in USD. Why the inconsistency?

Exchange Rates? (1)

tubs (143128) | more than 2 years ago | (#39877931)

Well, it's always been $1 = £1

So now it's €1 = £1 as well.

It is British Pound against Euro (5, Informative)

SYSS Mouse (694626) | more than 2 years ago | (#39877995)

This price increase is a measure against http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Grey_market [wikipedia.org]

Two years ago 1 Pound = 1.5 Euro, now it is 1.3 Euro. http://finance.yahoo.com/echarts?s=GBPEUR%3DX [yahoo.com]
  MS is increasing the price in GB so that M$ price is around the same in Europe zone.

Re:It is British Pound against Euro (1)

rb12345 (1170423) | more than 2 years ago | (#39878195)

That's miles out. Back in 2007, it *was* around €1.50/£-ish. By 2009-ish, that had dropped to around €1.10/£ - far worse than today, and since then the pound has strengthened again to ~€1.22/£.

Sustainable MS OS Pricing? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#39878351)

Warren Buffet once said he wouldn't invest in Microsoft because he couldn't understand the long term value in software. Is he right?

Can MS continue to hold, let alone gain, marketshare as the pricing stays high or goes higher in an evermore competitive commodity PC world?

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