The pricing for Windows 7 is absolutely obscene - and rips Australian users off even more than the US. Pricing comparison for Win7 Pro, with US dollars converted to current AU$ equivalent:
|US||AU||AU % premium|
As a software developer myself, I try to respect others' licenses. This, though, is hard to take seriously. (The "home" version is just as bad).
Retail sales of Windows are less than 5% of OEM sales, and few people upgrade Windows, preferring to buy a new computer instead. Any guess why? I can get a new, albeit crap, PC for less than twice the retail price of Win7Pro.
Pirating Windows wouldn't be worth most people's time and hassle if the upgrade was $50 - $100. But for $400? Yarrr!
$100 is a lot better than $0. They must have a reason for doing this - MS is not stupid when it comes to making a profit - but what that reason is completely escapes me.
It also tries very hard to make the upgrade route inconvenient, by trying to force you to have the old OS actually installed on the machine. Not even Quark tries that anymore, and they've long been the queens of ridiculous licensing.
Even Mac OS X almost starts to look attractive when faced with this stuff. Upgrade pricing from any prior version: AU$39. Unfortunately, I need to use various Windows versions as well as Mac OS X and various Linux flavours for software development and testing, much of which is on open source code. Otherwise I'd just stick to Linux.
I guess there's a limit to my respect for software licenses after all. "it's just for testing", right?
(Now if only Apple will pull their head out from ... wherever they've stuck it ... and offer developer licenses of Mac OS X for virtual machines so software testers have some sane choices. OSX86 is no fun, and illegal to boot.)