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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.

  • neon neophyte
    consider that your average chinese rice farmer makes about 150 dollars a year american, that might put that price in perspective.

    a chinese gold farmer (mmorpgs) makes more money than a chinese rice farmer. of course.. chinese gold farming is now illegal.
    Reply
  • eskimo_1
    If you can't beat em join em?
    Reply
  • lukeiamyourfather
    So the moral of the story is pirate software and media until only 5% of the population has legitimate product and then prices will be reasonable. Seems kind of bass akwards.
    Reply
  • agnickolov
    I'm sure it's still more expensive in the local Chinese market than it is in the US, relatively speaking.
    Reply
  • mitch074
    I'll keep using OpenOffice.org: be it in the East or West, it's still $0.
    Reply
  • hopiamani
    It's called price discrimination, check the wiki
    Reply
  • cracklint
    china should knock that discount off the debt America owes them.
    Reply
  • Kryan
    cracklintchina should knock that discount off the debt America owes them.
    America's debt is their own fault, not China's. so no, no debt reduction for credit hungry Americans (I am generalizing, but your country's financial deficit *is* a cold hard fact).

    Moving on to the whole $25/Office thing. "Relatively speaking" doesn't cut it in the computer industry, world-wide, in my opinion. Otherwise one would assume that said chinese rice farmer would be able to buy his hardware for 1/8th of the price I pay? (think high-end gfx cards and suddenly, popping to China to buy 2 or 3 cards to bring back might work out cheaper, INCLUDING the airfare...

    hmmm.
    Reply
  • neon neophyte
    kryan, your anology fails in that, software... has little overhead. it doesnt cost microsoft lots of money to make software for china. the software already exists. producing copies costs next to nothing. hardware has a real pricetag on it. producing silicon and tying it all together, isnt cheap. you cant sell something for less than what it costs to make it (ok yes you can, and they do.. in certain scenarios, like console gaming.)
    Reply
  • tomasf
    it is just fair, they should do the same in Latin America. game vendors should follow microsoft initiative
    Reply