Microsoft Office in China Retails for $29

A recent article posted on BusinessWeek discusses Microsoft's new "pricing strategy" that cuts the prices on Windows and Office products. But what really struck a true nerve in the article was the fact that Microsoft has chosen to offer Office in China for a measly $29.

Why is the country getting such an amazing deal? The company blames piracy, stating that 95-percent of the Office installations in China are illegal. Because of this factor, Microsoft is testing the new, dirt-cheap pricetag.

The result? An 800-percent increase in sales since the trial began in September 2008, with an estimated 80,000 copies sold since then. Pleased with the results, Microsoft even said that it plans to keep the new pricetag.

Worldwide, unit sales of Microsoft Office have spiked 415-percent, stemming from not-quite-so-low price points in Brazil, India, and more countries.

So what gives? Why are consumers rooted in the West to pay over $200 for Microsoft Office 2007? One of the biggest arguments surrounding piracy is overall pricing, whether it's related to Microsoft, Adobe, or the latest PC game. If prices were brought down to reasonable levels as seen in China, perhaps piracy wouldn't be quite as problematic.