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Microsoft Cuts Vista Price To $66 In China 260

narramissic writes "Microsoft this week cut the retail price of Windows Vista Home Basic in China by 67% — from 1,521 renminbi to 499 renminbi ($65.80). This is a steep discount compared to what users in the US and elsewhere are charged for the software. The reason for the price reduction? Battling piracy, of course. The new pricing 'narrows the price gap between original versions of Microsoft's software and pirated copies,' making it that much easier for consumers to 'do the right thing.'"
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Microsoft Cuts Vista Price To $66 In China

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  • IT's silly, why pay $66 bucks for a copy of watered down Dista when you can steal Ultimate? I mean, if you are in a country that has no IP enforcment, why not just steal the best one?
    • Re: (Score:2, Informative)

      by hax0r_this ( 1073148 )
      Newegg has "Home Basic" OEM for $90, and I doubt their prices are the cheapest around. And the retail is "only" $150. The price difference between vista basic in America and China is almost insignificant compared to the price difference between XP in America and China.
      • Re: (Score:2, Informative)

        The difference in OEM and retail price is also pretty cool. I got Ultimate for $180 from Newegg because it was OEM. Retail would have cost be $400. I saved $210 because I didn't want a box (and because of the OEM licensing which really didn't change any of my plans about how I was gonna use Vista)
    • Re: (Score:2, Funny)

      by Anonymous Coward
      Don't you mean Ulimate [newlaunches.com] and not Ultimate?
    • by kimvette ( 919543 ) on Friday August 03, 2007 @02:02PM (#20104439) Homepage Journal
      Why? The $66 version comes with extra features, such as regularly phoning home to Microsoft to send information about usage patterns and installed software, while presumably the pirated/hacked version will not. How's that for the value of being a paying customer?

      Okay, I admit I set up a straw man there, but I couldn't resist. I'm not making a serious point here, just a cynical comment.
    • Re: (Score:3, Insightful)

      by misleb ( 129952 )
      Also, $66 is still pretty damn expensive for most Chinese, AFAIK. So even if they wanted to buy the $66 version, I doubt they could realistically afford it.

      The nice thing about software though is that you can charge whatever you want for it and still make a profit. That is, if there is a difference between selling it for cheap and not selling it at all. Expect to see further price cuts from Microsoft.

      -mathtew

    • by jesterzog ( 189797 ) on Friday August 03, 2007 @08:53PM (#20109417) Homepage Journal

      I mean, if you are in a country that has no IP enforcment, why not just steal the best one?

      Perhaps because in China, stealing is still treated as a serious crime, and is often (I think) enforced quite heavily. A better course of action for people in China would be to infringe on the copyright, which is not seriously enforced.

      Unless, of course, you've fallen into the semantics of the stop-copyright-infringement lobby groups, who would love it if everyone saw the complicated artificial legal definition of copyright infringement as being equivalent to horrible crime of stealing. In that case, yes, they should steal the best one.

  • More Piracy? (Score:5, Insightful)

    by stars_are_number_1 ( 788251 ) <gerald.saul@gm[ ].com ['ail' in gap]> on Friday August 03, 2007 @01:40PM (#20104025)
    Does this mean we need more piracy in the US to bring the price down?
    • Or better yet, more Chinese imports of Vista.

      Not only could you get a legal copy, but they would have to compete with their own prices here!
    • I know it is the "less money is better than no money" mantra that they are trying to apply, but I still find it fascinating that a relatively non-free market is getting a better price for the same product than a supposedly free market like the US and European countries. It looks like "illegal" activities can be an artificial competitor when no direct competitor exists. The question is, will people in China buy it, even at this price? I really doubt it. I wonder what the EULA looks like...
      • by Mistlefoot ( 636417 ) on Friday August 03, 2007 @02:22PM (#20104743)
        Average income in Beijing is 15,600 RMB (chinese dollar) per year. That's 1300 RMB per month. With Vista at 500 RMB that's a good chunk of change. Even Beijing residents with a University degree only averaged 3,000 RMB per month.

        In the US, average income is $36,000 per year. Or $3,000 per month. Vista would have to cost ovder $1,100 to take up as great of a part of our income.

        Note that the original price (1500 RMB) was more than one months salary for the average employee in Beijing.

        If Vista cost us $1,100 I can guarantee it would be pirated to a much greater degree.

        http://ask.yahoo.com/20040518.html
        http://www.chinadaily.com.cn/english/doc/2005-02/2 2/content_418101.htm
        • Re: (Score:3, Insightful)

          by HungWeiLo ( 250320 )
          If everyone had to opt-in to pay an extra for $90 every time they bought a computer at Best Buy, you'd see a lot of piracy too.
        • But we compete with chinese for jobs based on the fact that they are paid less.

          If they get discounts on everything, they continue to lock in that advantage.

          The price should be the same there and here for the same products. It is much worse in the area of medicine where the difference can be $5.35 vs $.10 .

          Corporations have a lovely double standard where we pay more and they get to use labor that costs less.

          They are basically pumping all accumulated wealth out of the 1st world into their pockets.

          And we are
    • Re:More Piracy? (Score:5, Insightful)

      by TubeSteak ( 669689 ) on Friday August 03, 2007 @02:01PM (#20104421) Journal

      Does this mean we need more piracy in the US to bring the price down?
      I doubt that would work.
      Piracy is incredibly pervasive in Asia
      Microsoft is using the carrot, because they don't control the stick.

      In the USA, Microsoft has the stick firmly in hand (in the form of lawsuits, the BSA, politicians, and law enforcement) and only occassionaly dangles carrots (in the form of discounts to specific groups).
      • In the USA, Microsoft has the stick firmly in hand (in the form of lawsuits, the BSA, politicians, and law enforcement) and only occassionaly dangles carrots (in the form of discounts to specific groups).

        I don't see it like that. They don't control the stick in the USA anymore than they do in China. It's simplay about very different end user mindsets.

        Think about it. As far as businesses are concerned, OK, it's not nice to live in fear of a BSA raid. But who the heck is gonna raid an individual's home? Who's

        • Who's gonna know he's not using a legit copy of Windows?
          well there is wga, at the moment it seems they are being nice and just using failures to try and sell legit copies. However some must be wondering if and when MS will decide to go after someone who gets a wga failure and doesn't pay up. IIRC they are already giving rewards for snitching on the person who supplied the pirate software. The BSA has meant that corporate IT departments are paranoid about avoiding piracy and some of thier campaigns must rub
    • Re:More Piracy? (Score:5, Insightful)

      by QuietLagoon ( 813062 ) on Friday August 03, 2007 @02:07PM (#20104497)
      Does this mean we need more piracy in the US to bring the price down?

      It does show that a monopoly results in consumers paying a ridicuously high price for the merchandise.

      • Re:More Piracy? (Score:4, Insightful)

        by SanityInAnarchy ( 655584 ) <ninja@slaphack.com> on Friday August 03, 2007 @02:55PM (#20105253) Journal
        Right, and it does show that they can compete with free.

        It makes one wonder, if Linux and OS X were more successful, would Windows even cost $50 in the US?
    • Apparently it does. This is exactly what I was thinking. I bet Congress and the Fed would even support us on this. Piracy and theft and anti-inflationary economic pressures makes sense.
    • Re: (Score:3, Insightful)

      by houghi ( 78078 )
      Why piracy? There is another way to show you do not agree with their pricing without breaking the law. Just do not buy their products and do not use the pirated version either.

      You do not like brand X doing business in ways you dislike? Do not use those products. Do not like the *AA? Don't listen to their music. Do not like the sportsbrand having sweatshops? Don't wear their clothes. Don't like the pricing of software? Don't use it.

      Think to yourself what you would think software is worth to you, download any
    • by ozbird ( 127571 )
      Or you could just buy a copy from China?
  • Maybe we'd like to do the right thing here for a dollar amount that gets closer to 0, too.

    Fortunately for me, I'm happy enough with my games in XP - it's just a platform, after all.
  • Relative to Income (Score:4, Insightful)

    by Anonymous Coward on Friday August 03, 2007 @01:42PM (#20104053)
    So what is that, like 2 months of a person's income there?

    Reduce it to two or three day's income like it is here for the average person. Then you'll hit the point where they can afford it instead of stealing it.
  • more money for MS. Its not like actually creating a copy of vista costs them anything-- but getting someone to spend *any* money on windows in china is good news for MS. I kinda wish they would do a better job at preventing piracy though-- it would give poorer countries a reason to look elsewhere.
  • who says piracy is a bad thing?
    It seems to be drumming up competitive pricing for the legit items.

    Wish other companies will take note.
  • by syntaxeater ( 1070272 ) on Friday August 03, 2007 @01:46PM (#20104137) Homepage
    The piracy of one is a tragedy. The piracy of millions is a discount.
  • by WindBourne ( 631190 ) on Friday August 03, 2007 @01:46PM (#20104141) Journal
    The real question is why will users allow this? And can businesses and gov. make use of this
  • by asphaltjesus ( 978804 ) on Friday August 03, 2007 @01:47PM (#20104175)
    Depending on where you go for the data, that's still 1/2 to a full month's wages.

    I'm very interested to discover how that price decrease decision was made. e.g. was it just not selling? Did the government "recommend" it?
    • Re: (Score:3, Interesting)

      by colmore ( 56499 )
      Talking about "average wages" in the industrializing world is pretty misleading.

      China is a third world country that contains a first world country. Vista, computers, and internet access is being sold to the first worlders. I've seen $300 / month quoted as the base starting salary for white collar work. Which puts a Chinese office drone at about 1/4 what a US temp staffer makes. This seems about right, given that the kind of consumer price disparities here are primarily the results of China's heavy hand
  • Cowards! You're letting the terrorists^H^H^H^H software pirates win! You're supposed to fight them over there, so we don't have to fight them over here. You concede one battle, and what happens? The bastards got illegal and baby-raping MOD CHIPS into every single XBox in North America! Do you remember the raids? Do you remember the stacks of DVDs stored inside clear plastic jewel cases, instead of their majestic neon-green and white ones?
  • by Registered Coward v2 ( 447531 ) on Friday August 03, 2007 @01:48PM (#20104195)
    At that price, assuming it is the same as other versions sold elsewhere, it is almost at a point where bulk purchasing and shipping make it worthwhile to sell on the gray market.
    • Then Microsoft would launch a mass-education campaign telling people that CD-ROMs from China contain "stale bits" or something like that. Yamaha has been battling gray-market pianos for years (ones imported from Japan because not many people want to buy second-hand pianos there), so they tell people that somehow wood used there is different than wood used for pianos shipped to North America.
  • Didn't they increase the price of their software to compensate for the so-called "loss due to piracy"? This seems counter intuitive. If they drop prices, all they are doing is giving people more reason to pirate it.
  • by CPE1704TKS ( 995414 ) on Friday August 03, 2007 @01:55PM (#20104299)
    I read a very interesting article on Microsoft's policies in China in the latest Fortune magazine. They were talking about how for years Microsoft would try to battle piracy in China, and realized it was a losing battle, so they gave up. Instead, they opened up research institutes and kissed the ass of the government. This made the government more apt to enforce IP policy, and MSFT had a big hand in dictating it.

    I remember reading that Windows + Office was about $3 US to students. In fact, in China, pirated Windows is often less expensive than Linux because Linux has more cds, which increases the cost dramatically.

    Also interesting was when the interviewer asked Gates about China's policy on suppressing free speech, and Bill Gates had an internal BSOD and basically froze. After an uncomfortable period of time, the interviewer said "That's quite a pregnant pause" and Gates said "I don't think I want to answer that question."

    The great thing about capitalism is that CEOs like Bill Gates who wants to make hand-over-fist in terms of money, doesn't have to give a rat's ass about basic human rights, he can choose to hide behind his business like a coward. Craig Mundie's answer was "I don't think that is my area of expertise." Cowards.
    • The great thing about capitalism is that CEOs like Bill Gates who wants to make hand-over-fist in terms of money, doesn't have to give a rat's ass about basic human rights, he can choose to hide behind his business like a coward. Craig Mundie's answer was "I don't think that is my area of expertise." Cowards.

      And you can honestly say you have never purchased anything that has run through China? No iPod? No rice? Never eaten Chinese food? Never shopped at any major chain?

      If you have, you are just as much
      • Chinese food in the U.S. these days is likely to be cooked by guys named Juan and Alejandro, even at high-end authentic places. I assure you your last sweet and sour chicken contained very little if no ingredients from China.
        • I'm not saying the employees are sending money back to China... but yes, the raw materials, I betcha you are getting some from China.
    • Not really all that basic when you consider how much of the world doesn't really have it.

      Americans cry because they can't call Pakistan without the NSA listening. Somehow listening to a conversation is an illegal act of property seizure by the government in violation of the 5th ammendment. Except the government has the right to search and seize property at the border, which your conversation -er- property is most certainly crossing.

      Somehow on slashdot ripping music and movies is not theft, but the govern
  • So uhh... what's preventing the Chinese online vendors from selling this back to the US?
  • by Sponge Bath ( 413667 ) on Friday August 03, 2007 @02:02PM (#20104431)
    Vista Ethylene Glycol Edition
  • and from the start ?

    if you had done that, entire world would be using your licensed crap right now.

    good thing that you didnt, though. else there would be no linux. for you ms fanbois out there who will go ablaze when reading what i post, im not a linux fanboy, and despite that i think that way.
  • by tgatliff ( 311583 ) on Friday August 03, 2007 @02:04PM (#20104463)
    So are we saying there is a good side to piracy? Shocking!! You mean the music industry could have just reduced their prices to compete with piracy instead of sueing every single person?
  • No. I wouldn't pay $66 for it, even at American wage standards.
  • At least with XP, the keys are language agnostic. A Chinese XP key will work with an English OS and pass Genuine Advantage.

    I expect eBay will soon be flooded with Chinese copies of Vista Basic and an English DVD-R.
    • Just because the key works doesn't mean it's not copyright infringement.

      • Re: (Score:3, Insightful)

        by AmiMoJo ( 196126 )
        How is buying a legitimate licence which activates and passes all Microsofts checks copyright infringement?

        Perhaps it could be a licencing issue, if the licence specifically says for use with a Chinese OS only. However, last time I checked and English Vista pack, it didn't say anything about that.
      • Since nothing was copied illegally, and a valid serial number was purchased from Microsoft in exchange for actual money, you still feel it could be copyright infringement? I'm glad you don't make laws. Your speculation is ridiculous.

        At best you break some little fluff piece in an EULA. It is fully a license issue, not copyright infringement.
        • Since nothing was copied illegally, and a valid serial number was purchased from Microsoft in exchange for actual money, you still feel it could be copyright infringement? I'm glad you don't make laws. Your speculation is ridiculous.
          Instead of using the software you purchased you made a copy of a different product, how is that not copyright infringement?

  • A megacorporation convicted of gross violations of various antitrust laws has partnered with the dictators of China, who have committed heinous human rights abuses on live television, in order to slightly increase its own profit margins.

    The megacorporation is now lecturing the victims of this dictatorship about how they should not trade their morals for money.

    I am a little choked up right now. I'm just so. PROUD. To be. An. Amur. Ah. Cain.

    Sniffle.
  • Retaliation (Score:5, Funny)

    by SnarfQuest ( 469614 ) on Friday August 03, 2007 @02:46PM (#20105121)
    Are we sending Windows to China in retaliation for the lead-paint and poisonous pet food that China is shipping to us?
  • So those poor rural Chinese have a copy of Microsoft Windows Vista-Basic for only a few months salary. How many years salary is it going to cost them for the hardware/computer to run it on? That $199 PC we heard about recently is going to have enough power to run Vista?

    And if they really think this is about piracy, think again. Those who are pirating are not going to pay $66 for Windows Vista-Home when for the same price, they can get Windows Vista-Ultimate. The difference between $2-$5 for the pirated vers
  • China should slap 200% duties on Windows. Microsoft dumping it at 33% of the US price is going to harm the Chinese piracy industry.
  • If you believe the press releases you are led to believe that piracy reduces profits, therefore a company which is affected would need to increase their price to make ends meet.

    So why are they reducing prices? it's pretty obvious Microsoft realises it's software simply isn't priced realistically for the chinese market.
  • So, apparently, the way to cheaper software here in the States is to ramp up piracy. Then we can get legit copies for $75 too.
  • The new pricing 'narrows the price gap between original versions of Microsoft's software and pirated copies,' making it that much easier for consumers to 'do the right thing'."

    I don't see how narrowing the price gap between original and pirated copies of Vista makes it easier for consumers to switch to something (anything) else. What's the connection there?

  • .. should be referenced in this case as yuan, not renminbi.
    • by 808140 ( 808140 )
      You'd be wrong then. There's nothing wrong with saying renminbi.
      • by phatvw ( 996438 )
        Yuan is the monetary unit while Renminbi is the name of the currency. So while stating Renminbi is technically correct, Yuan is more accepted in this context: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Renminbi [wikipedia.org]
        • by 808140 ( 808140 )
          Um, whatever. I lived in China for nearly 5 years, and I speak Mandarin. People say renminbi all the time. Linking to a WP article isn't going to make me think that you're correct here.
          • by phatvw ( 996438 )
            Duh I missed the detail that the original article was written for a Singapore audience. In the USA, Yuan is what is used.
  • so we should ramp up our piracy efforts in the US until software becomes reasonable.. check.
  • Two Words: Grey Market.
  • The US is quick to threaten trade sanctions when foreign companies try selling their products cheaper in the US than their own market. How is this different?

  • I think Bill Gates has openly stately that he considers controlling the standards to be msft's most important goal.

    If windows could not be pirated, then China would either stick with old versions of windows, or use Linux, or something. In any case, that could catastrophic for msft.
  • isn't that what Dell is charging for it?

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