Australian buyers of Microsoft's upcoming Windows 7 operating system will pay between AU$50 and AU$150 more in real terms than US residents for the software, the company revealed this morning.
The most popular version of Windows 7 is likely to be the full Home Premium version, which has an estimated retail price of US$199.99, or AU$248. But Australians will pay AU$299 for the software. Microsoft has cut that amount down by AU$50 compared to the same version of Windows Vista.
Australians will pay AU$199 to upgrade from Vista Home Premium to Windows 7 Home Premium, whereas Americans will only pay US$119.99, or approximately AU$149.
The Professional version of Windows 7 will come with an even higher cost.
Australian users will pay AU$449 for the full retail version of Windows 7 Professional, whereas Americans will pay US$299.99, or AU$372. And Australians will pay AU$399.99 to upgrade to Windows 7 Professional, whereas Americans will pay US$199.99 or AU$248.
The ultimate version of Windows 7 will go for AU$469 in Australia, or AU$429 for an upgrade, compared to the respective US prices of US$319.99 (AU$397.03) and US$219.99 (AU$273.38). Microsoft has hiked the prices of Windows 7 Ultimate slightly compared to Vista Ultimate.
Broadly speaking, Australian prices for Windows 7 remain on par with their Vista equivalents, albeit with some small changes around the Home Premium and Ultimate versions.
"Our prices vary by region and are determined based on a variety of market specific factors including, but not limited to exchange rate, local taxes, duties, local market conditions and retailer pricing decisions," said a Microsoft spokesperson via email.
Microsoft is not the only software vendor to slug Australians with higher prices than their US counterparts for the same software; Adobe's estimated local prices for its Creative Suite 4 package follow the same model.
Microsoft globally has also announced a limited pre-order program for Windows 7, under which customers in the US, Canada and Japan will be able to get the software at more than 50 per cent discount; but no such program has yet been announced in Australia.
Microsoft has also announced that customers who purchase PCs with Vista Home Premium, Business or Ultimate versions from today will be able to upgrade to Windows 7 "for little or no cost" when it launches on 22 October. This upgrade option will run until 31 January 2010, with buyers being able to redeem it until the end of February, Microsoft said.
Hewlett-Packard announced this morning it would be participating in the offer, and would start offering Windows 7 on PCs starting from 22 October.
All prices listed are estimated retail prices.