The disparity of US and EU software pricing models

I’m constantly amazed by the pricing differences between software in the US and Ireland. The main one that always stunned me was the price differences for Adobe Creative Suite products. In many cases it’s up to twice the price to purchase it over here. Considering there aren’t exactly any language differences, half of this software is actually made in Ireland, and in some cases you can purchase a download option, so there aren’t any physical costs to be considered. If you want to see just how ridiculous the Adobe pricing case is you should read up this website:

I’ve just come across another ridiculous pricing rip off for us European customers, made even worse by the current exchange rate.

Microsoft Office

Generally I’m very happy to use Open Office – the open source (free!) alternative to Microsoft Office. However a lot of our clients use Microsoft Office as it still holds on to the defacto standard status for businesses. Generally we can comfortably use Open Office to read MS Word documents etc, but sometimes there are slight formatting differences, and in some cases these differences are not entirely acceptable.

MS Office $299 in the US

MS Office $299 in the US

For the last while I’ve been managing to run a 25 use trial version of MS Office (it’s amazing how long this 25 use version has lasted as I always made sure to just leave it running in the background). However, today I finally used up my last use and MS Office has now switched into “limited use” mode, meaning I can’t edit, save, or, well, change anything.

So I went looking up the pricing of Office Small Business and was pleased to see that it only came to $299.95, and this package included Excel, Powerpoint, Word, Outlook, Publisher, and Accounting Express. This seems like a reasonable price, especially when you convert to the euro price (approximately €200).

I then noticed that this was, of course, a US exclusive pricing so I went looking for their Irish website.

You’re Irish? Better screw you so!

MS Office priced for Irish customers

MS Office priced for Irish customers

So yeah, what can I say, want to buy this in Ireland. €200?! No way, we’ve got to charge you more than that, for some unknown reason.

So, €546.25, that’s a 273% markup on the US version pricing!!

How can this possibly be justified? Are they charging us for their anti-trust losses? Is it just because they can get away with it and no one is complaining?

I was considering purchasing this but for €546 there’s not a hope. Instead I’ll install the trial version on my laptop and get 25 uses from that, then install it on another desktop and then another laptop. I’ll run it free as long as I can.

Eventually I’ll probably need to reinstall my desktop and I’ll get another 25 uses from it there.

Screw you MS.