Windows 7 available for just £65 in the UK, cheaper than in the US. Why?

How often is that things are cheaper in the UK than they are in the US?

Pretty rarely in my experience. Clothes are a classic, always far cheaper in the States, but then we have a reputation for being rip-off Britain don’t we? (I guess one of the reasons is that there are higher taxes on UK goods, some of which must help fund our free National Health Service, where as health care is not free in the US, a topic that has had much media coverage in the wake of Barrack Obama’s proposed reforms of US Healthcare).

Nevertheless we have recently learned that Windows 7 is actually going to be cheaper in the UK and Europe than in the US, retailing on Amazon in the UK for just £65. Some have put this at less than half what it costs in the US, although a commenter on Reddit reckoned he could get the product off Amazon for $119, about £70, so not much different.

What’s the reason for this quirk in normal pricing differentials between the States and Europe? Well it appears to be because Microsoft initially released a Windows 7 lite version that was without its internet browser IE8, due to an EU anti-competition ruling.

However, it has subsequently removed that version from the market and is instead offering a version with an option to download IE8, not with it already pre-installed, thus getting round EU law.

To its credit Microsoft has honoured its original pricing and hence the price differential with the US. 

I wonder how important it is to Microsoft to be able to tie the browser install into the operating system download is? Internet Explorer is a browser that is already losing market share and Microsoft’s usual distrribution method has been thwarted by EU law.

The likely result will surely be that IE loses more market share in the EU. 

Of course all this may be irrelevant as you don’t want to upgrade to Windows 7 at all. Early showings suggest it will be a big improvement on Vista, although we found 12 things that we didn’t like about it.