Will Vista prices be on a par with XP's everywhere?

According to early data coming in from Australia and Germany, it seems customers are going to be charged quite a bit more for Window sVista than XP. Microsoft is blaming the channel for the mark-up.

Even though the Windows Vista versions don’t match up exactly, feature for feature, with the comparable XP ones, Microsoft has held retail pricing fairly constant, officials have said. (And ditto for volume-license pricing, according to the Softies.)

Outside the U.S., however, it seems customers are going to be charged quite a bit more for Vista than XP, according to early data from Australia and Germany.

In the U.S., Vista Home Basic is selling for $199 (estimated retail price). In Germany, Vista Home Basic will set you back 210 Euros, or $278 U.S., according to information compiled by Sandro Villinger, Webmaster of the Windows Tweaks Web site.

Vista Business, which sells for $299 estimated retail price (ERP) in the U.S., will cost $452 U.S. in Germany, Villinger found. And Windows Vista Ultimate, which goes for $399 in the U.S., will cost the equivalent of $602 U.S., Villinger said.

In Australia, Vista prices are similarly inflated. Vista Home Basic costs $385 Australian (roughly $303 U.S.) – compared to $199 U.S. Vista Business is pegged at $565 Australian ($445 U.S.), compared to $299 ERP in the U.S. And Vista Ultimate is going for $751 Australian (which equals roughly $592 U.S.) – compared to $399 in the U.S.

Microsoft officials are blaming local retailers for the mark-up.

“Overall, (Vista) pricing is geared to a standard release,” said Brad Goldberg, general manager of Windows client. “The channel can mark it up the way it wants.”

So far, I haven’t seen data on how much PC makers are planning to charge for Vista systems here or abroad. And given that far more customers buy PCs with Windows preloaded on new systems than buy retail copies of Windows, those figures will be more of a true barometer of how expensive Vista will be.

But it still will be interesting to see if international retailers are forced to drop their prices due to customer revolt, once Vista becomes available to the masses on January 30.


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