Microsoft Cuts Prices In Order To Compete With Chinese Pirates

Can’t beat ’em? Compete with them! Microsoft has lowered their prices in China in an attempt to thwart pirating.

From Ars Technica:

In recent years the Chinese government has attempted to crack down on the country’s local PC manufacturers that use pirated software, and this crackdown has accounted for a small dip in piracy estimates throughout the country. Since China has the second-largest PC market, and the fastest growing one at that, Microsoft’s tight relationship with China’s major PC manufacturers means that the company will see plenty of profits from Vista sales in China.

Nevertheless, Microsoft is still very concerned about the “retail” software market, where piracy is still the norm. The price cuts are aimed at enticing users into buying legal retail software, while making it slightly less profitable to sell pirated software.

The move is more significant than it might first appear, because Microsoft has historically been resistant to pricing its products based on local markets. Note that the original pricing of Windows Vista in China ($200 for Basic, $238 for Premium) is essentially identical to the pricing in the United States, despite the two countries having vastly different economic conditions. The new cuts make Chinese versions significantly less expensive in comparison, which may irk some US consumers, but you know what they say about the price of tea in China.

What say you? Are you irked?

A shocker: Microsoft combats Chinese piracy via major price cuts [Ars Technica]


Edit Your Comment

  1. Iron_Dragon_2.0 says:

    Nope. Got my vista business key free.

  2. lizzybee says:

    Why be irked? The Chinese standard of living is much lower overall than mine is, and I can technically “afford” more expensive software.

  3. Cowboys_fan says:

    I’m not bothered either, like IRON_DRAGON, I get all my MS software free. Maybe if they dropped the price here, I’d consider buying…Nah, probably not

  4. lore says:

    What do they say about the tea in China?

  5. Kos says:

    software, meh. life-saving medicine, yeah…I’d be pissed if I had some terminable illness and couldn’t afford to pay US prices when it is cheaper elsewhere.

  6. Morton Fox says:

    So is this going to lead to a grey market where they reimport cheaper Microsoft sofware from China?

  7. stubblechin says:

    You bet I’m irked! Microsoft can hire overseas, where it’s cheaper for them, and sell cheaper to foreigners, but if I should try to import Microsoft’s software from China, they’ll be mad about it. Why should only corporations reap the benefits of globalization?

  8. fluiddruid says:

    Clearly, we need to pirate more software in the US, so companies will drop their prices.

  9. FijianTribe says:

    @Morton Fox:

    “So is this going to lead to a grey market where they reimport cheaper Microsoft sofware from China?”

    Nope, all they would have to do is stip our any language but Chinese, then why would any english speaking person buy the “cheaper” software.

    I dont mind a price difference, so long as it does not become a guouging of one to help the other. I think the OS price is slightly high, but I would not be opposed to them selling it for less, seems reasonable, unless ofcourse the US price doubles because of it.

  10. nerdsavant says:

    I’m irked. Less about the cost (I’m not planning on buying Vista anyway) and more about the fact that apparently, domestic pirates just can’t compete with their Chinese equivalents. C’mon, you’re letting us all down!

  11. ptrix says:

    What DO they say about tea in China? that due to lax food regulations, it’s likely to be upwards of 60% grass clippings by weight?

  12. Geekybiker says:

    Ahh, but they have to support english, even in china. Too much software, etc is written in English to ingore it. Any version of windows not supporting english would be severely crippled even in its native country.

  13. Onouris says:

    Yeah they said they priced Vista here at basically twice what we could buy it from America for because of ‘exchange rate fluctuations’.

    That’s a bloody big fluctuation they’re accounting for.

  14. divide says:

    @STUBBLECHIN: Good point. Furthermore, outsourcing becomes cheaper as identical software is significantly cheaper for them.

    Hooray for cheap imported goods and services!

  15. JohnMc says:

    I have no problem with pricing based on local conditions. Though that in itself raises an issue as to does a retail price for Vista here represent gouging? Its the same code base.

    The real issue as I see it is that Microsoft is really rewarding a market for cheating. Can’t get the problem solved, drop the price. Now it will be effective but it still sends the wrong signal to other markets. MS should have done their market analysis before they set the initial pricing.


  16. Brian Gee says:

    @ptrix: Nope… That’s the tea FROM China, not IN China.

  17. FijianTribe says:

    1) You can still strip out english from China versions on Vista and support english applications. Some code modifications on MS part, but probably not too difficult. So in stead of a START button you get a @#(*$^ (<-imitation chinese characters) button. Same with IE. All controls are in Chinese but pages can appear in English. Applications run will still display in english.

    2) I think the “gouging” would be to ask way more than a reasonable price. $500 for a Vista license for example would be criminal. $100-200 is reasonable to me.

    3) JOHNMC you do bring up a good point. Is it rewarding a market that is cheating? I dont know if I agree with that. What else are they going to do to stem the problem? It might be a good short term solution, but MS needs to get China on board with its anti-piracy or threaten to takes its billions else where.

  18. XopherMV says:

    Why are we trading with countries where the average person does not make enough money to buy US goods? The only reason I can think of is that we want to send all of our jobs and all of our money to foreign countries, regardless of how much that screws us over. Sure, sometimes we get cheaper goods, but not all the time as this Microsoft case demonstrates.

  19. miborovsky says:

    Supply and demand in action. Capitalism is working in China, unlike here.

  20. Erik_the_Awful says:

    That’s still about 66 times what Vista is worth.

    For a while I got paid to load vista on computers. After seeing how systems run with Vista vs XP, that’s the ONLY way I’ll load vista on a computer.

    Vista smells and feels a lot like Windows ME. Maybe Service Pack 1 will turn things around, but I ain’t holding my breath.

    Linux is free and does the job. If you gotta have your games, enjoy XP.

  21. Greasy Thumb Guzik says:

    Who cares about IE?
    I use Firefox!

  22. jamar0303 says:

    @FijianTribe: They already do this. Only Vista Ultimate comes with additional languages. I know- I interned in the Best Buy in Shanghai for 2 weeks. All the non-Chinese that came in were told to buy Vista Ultimate to get the language they needed.

  23. Havok154 says:

    Got my Vista Ultimate for free from Intel. Even then I still haven’t installed it. There’s no reason to and XP still runs great.

  24. Rusted says:

    2000 pro for me. It’s what most of em’ are based on anyway.

  25. says:

    what they say about the price of tea in China… ergo, either Windows OS is very inexpensive in Seattle, or Windows OS is actually grown in China :)