back to article Downing Street rejects Vista petition

A petition on Downing Street's e-petition website which called for fairer pricing of Microsoft's Vista operating system has been rejected. The petition called on the PM to "bring pressure on Microsoft to stop them overcharging the UK for its Vista Operating System". The petition noted that a fully-fledged version of Vista costs …

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Anonymous Coward

how about the reg start up a new petition

Let's petition the PM's site to ignore all petitions posted on the petition site, and to ignore the comments of anyone who is actually concerned enough on a subject to act upon it; by either setting up a petition or signing one.

In addition maybe they should send out a blanket email thanking the signers interest to participate in the democratic process; suggesting they move to a more democratic country; such as Iraq.

It's a shame, the number of people I have forwarded a petition on to only to be told theres no point signing it; nothing will come of it.

I wonder how people become frustrated and seek alternative forms to influence our governments.

Let the flaming begin...

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Anonymous Coward

Vista too expensive?

...then install Linux :)

Or keep good ol XP if you need Windows compatibility - it'll be far more stable than Vista anyway.

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Anti-competitive?

Walk into a PC 'planet' shop, they only have one OS on sale for PC (exclude intel macs because osx doesn't run on PC) and charging £350 for the only product on the shelves (previous windows versions are being removed) is not simply anti-competitive it is extortion.

I'd love to know what would happen if PC 'planet' got a pack of free CDs from Ubuntu ShipIt and put them on the shelf right by vista with a big sign saying, "Free Operating System", and a price tag of £0...

That would be a little competition...

Think vista would sell to the demographic of people who simply don't care what OS they have as long as it works?

Think microsoft would continue to charge £350 for it when it is actually being displayed adjacent to a competitor?

The competition commission should look at forcing software stockists to do this in order to improve competition in the market place.

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Price increase specific for the OEM version

Just a note the price increase is specific to the OEM version of windows - certainly an interesting topic as I'm sure people would consider which PC OS to buy differently if they were given the options at retail prices of no OS/ubuntu for free up to vista ultimate for an extra 300 quid...

On the other hand I still know people that when asked what OS they run will give ansers of, Office 2003, Internet Explorer 7 or Firefox.....

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Extortion?

Simple answer...get a MAC. You can run XP and \ or VISTA on it if you really wish to but why? The MAC will be far more secure, far more stable and much more fun.

MS sucks. They charge us a fortune for products and then use us as testers to find all the bugs.....

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Bronze badge

Keep putting the M$ price up

This will encourage more people to take the alternatives seriously. The rules are :-

Just want it to work, cost not important - Mac

Just want it to work, style not important - PC/M$

Just want it to work, cost and style critical - Linux (Kubuntu is my flavour of the month)

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Petition that hasn't been rejected?

Anyone care to name a petition that hasn't been rejected? The ones I've signed (no ID cards, road pricing) have been met with a politely worded "F*ck off you horrible little voter, we know best so stop thinking."

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RE: Anti Competitive?

Why don't you leave a bunch of Ubuntu CDs in the store yourself? I don't see how you could get arrested for such a thing (though there could be some BS thing the cops could come up with). If we coordinated a movement of putting Ubuntu next to Vista on shelves it might put the pressure on M$ or the store to change. Just a thought...

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Silver badge

The listening government,

listens to big business and corporations, listens to those with enough financial clout to buy a peerage. Listens to the Bush administration.

Changes law so it doesn't have to listen to those individuals who take to the streets to complain. Changes the law so that more than two people gathered in the same place to complain now constitutes riotous assembly. It will happily go at these "dissenters" with riot shields, batons and jail sentences so it does not have to listen.

It will allow big business to continually rip you off. It will develop more laws to protect business interests and erode your rights. It will create more laws to stealthily tax your ass.

Government is the governing body of the UK. I just wonder who controls government certainly not the people, was it ever the people.

How many CEO's and major shareholders of big companies are in government, on the back benches and in the house of Lords?

Of course all CEO's and major shareholders are honest upright and professional people who would never let self gain influence the decision making process.

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About price gouging not OS

The only alternative to vista for most people is xp.

I dont want linux, i want to play games. (no i dont want to run wine etc when i can run native). I certainly wouldnt ask my mother to install/use linux.

If i wanted a mac, i'd buy a mac. I certainly wouldn't buy one to run xp so i can play games. (this ones perfect for my mom)

You fan boys are always a laugh. (Its an OS not a religion.) I try to use the right tool for the job. Microsoft isnt perfect but its what I currently need to run new games.

The petition is not about what OS, its about what price should we pay for it (vista). Just because we live in the UK we should apparently pay twice as much as anywhere else for it.

Even if you dont want to use it, you should at least see it applies to other consumer products as well...

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The important part you missed

The Downing Street peition directs people to the Office of Fair Trading. And guess what? The Office of Fair Traiding does not accept compliants from individuals!!

This whole thing is a joke - and never mind Microsoft, all US companies are at it, plundering 'Treasure Island'. Check out the price for Adobe's Creative Suite, versus what is paid in the US.

It really is about time that equalised pricing was made law. This is discrimination based on location, nothing more, nothing less.

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James understands it !

Yep, these petitions will not change public policy one jot. Tony Bliar decides what happens and what he deciedes IS what goes for policy. Anyone that disagrees is quickly shunted out. Same with these petitions, if it's not what TB has already decided is going to happen then it's completely ignored with those stock "fob off" phrases.

We can only hope that his replacement won't be Gordon the robber (yes the one that's consistently increased the overall tax burden year on year, including robbing 5BILLON quid a year from pentions even after he's been warned what the consequences are likely to be). Unfortunately I suspect TB will have sufficiently suppressed individual thought enough to prevent a proper challenge.

Actually, I think there have been petitions I've signed wher ethe response has been along the lines of "well actually that's what we already do" or "we already planned to do that".

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Anonymous Coward

I'll keep running Linux thanks.

As long as Microsoft persist in assuming that I'm stupid, I'll continue assuming that they don't want my money...

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Anonymous Coward

Natural Selection

Anyone paying £350 for Vista really deserves what they get. Yes there are alternatives, so if people use alternatives then the price comes down. Pay £350 and they know they can get away with it. So for Mr "I try to use the right tool for the job", go off and pay your £350 if you think that is the tool for you :-)

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ubuntu cd's

What would happen if PC 'planet' got a pack of free CDs from Ubuntu ShipIt and put them on the shelf right by vista with a big sign saying, "Free Operating System", and a price tag of £0...

...is that everyone would still get Vista. People don't give a toss about their operating system.

Anyone who works in support knows that after 10 years of a broadly similar OS most people don't know where they're saving their files, edit word docs that are attachments then wonder why none of their changes are forwarded, and don't know the difference between shutdown, restart and log off.

People just want to check their e-mail and play "The Sims" and have a picture of their football team as their background wallpaper. Don't go expecting them to install their own OS. The just don't get it. The man on the street doesn't give a fig about whether we think MS sucks. It's the one in the box and it looks like the one at work.

I've never met anyone who wasn't a tech that upgraded their OS. The run with the one they get until the PC melts then they buy a new one and they got with that until they pour coffee in it. They don't care that Vista's a rip off. None of them will go out and buy it anyway.

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If its cheaper in the USA - Buy it from the USA

We live in a global economy... if something is cheaper in America then buy it directly from America!

I bought Windows Vista from an American website, and paid a significant amount less than the UK retail or OEM price.

People who walk into PC "Planet" or similar and happily hand over full UK retail price are being foolish and lazy as they've not shopped around at all. Business is business and any company will charge what they can get away with charging for a product.

Also to say if you don't like Windows don't buy it isn't always realistic, I have to do testing on a range of platforms including Windows 98, XP, Vista MAC OS X and Linux. The reality is a lot of people have Windows XP/ 98/95 and will be looking for an easy and safe upgrade path with a name they recognise, Microsoft offers that. SUSE, Fedora, Ubuntu etc. are all superb OS' but are not household brands and are unlikely to become so, they can't afford to advertise!

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Anonymous Coward

Ouch!

Current best price in Canadian loonies is $223 for Vista Ultimate.

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well that was a surprise

Annoying as it is that Vista is so expensive ultimately there is nothing that the executive can do about without enacting primary legislation. We have a free market, the result is that we occasionally get screwed. Moaning about the fact that the executive is unwilling to pretend that it could do something is a waste of time. If you want price regulation you want primary legislation so talk to the legislature (i.e. your MP).

Something I’ve wondered though is why people buy the retail license, you can get an OEM one for a fraction of the cost and unless the rules have changed since XP/2K (i.e. when I stopped being an IT tech and started training as a lawyer) then you just have to buy a ‘significant’ item of hardware to get the OEM license. Result, buy the largest hard drive you can find and Vista Ultimate OEM (which is going to eat a lot of space anyway) and you’re still paying less than the retail.

Also, Linux/Mac just isn’t a viable alternative for a lot of users.

Things I have used over the years which don’t work (natively) on Linux/Mac

Photoshop (yes to mac no to Linux)

Quark (not on Linux)

Word/Excel/Access/SQL Server 2000 (yes there are alternatives but unless things have changed since Lotus 9.7 the ability of third party software to preserve formatting when saving in a Microsoft file format (i.e. what the rest of the world uses) leaves a lot to be desired).

GAMES! (not that I have time to play many these days) but the point still stands that if you want to play games you have to run Windows. (and don’t tell me about Mac gaming, Quake 3 + Sim City is not a broad selection, I want Arma and some other stuff).

Also, my desktop uses generic components, if I want to upgrade my MB I just pull it out and put a new one in with the chip of my choice and whatever else I feel like wasting my money on, not an option with Mac and drivers are a bitch with Linux.

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Petition

I set up a petition that basicly said, 'We the undersigned want the government to start taking this petitioning process seriously and cease simply sending out cheap brush off's to every single one that manages to make it past the vetting process and garners itself more than three votes.'

I had signed a good number of petitions and each and every one received a cheap brush off from government at the closing date.

The whole process is pointless.

How about starting up the El Reg political party. government for the people by the IT people?

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Anonymous Coward

Easily sorted

The EU stops fining Microsoft, and Microsoft cuts the price of Vista. Problem solved!

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Surley the market decides the price?

i.e. if it's too much then no one would buy it. If people are buying it, then they must consider it worth it.

I don't want out government to be like the EU and think it knows best. If MS had agreed with rivals to keep prices of all software high then there'd be a good point, but when their nearest rival is FREE - it's a non-argument. People pay for windows because they think its worth it.

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The windows question

Rupert Roker I don't think you've used Mac or Linux, or not for very long. you're also repeating a lot of the linux desktop myths. for instance most hardware that you swap out or upgrade 'just works' drivers aren't a britch they're don't exist, none are required for most things. as for games well well, I like playing games as much as the next chump but I buy and play Linux games, I don't pretend that DirectX fan boy studio products can be made to work in wine, I simply don't buy their games.

The truth is that the industry is warped around Microsoft and the only way out it is if you, the consumers make sacrifices so it can realign around a none locked in, forced upgrade, genuinely disadvantaged software product.

But lets face it, most of you see this as a technical problem when in the end it's a political and industry problem so your helpless.

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Linux fans business models don't work!

Dear Karl

What planet are you living on?

1. Go into a shop.

2. Pick something off the shelf

3. Pay no money

4. Mr Shop keeper says 'Thanks for visiting to my shop and please come again'

If you run your business like that, god help you!

John

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Why?

Why would you even bother with a petition like this? What's the point? It's almost as stupid as actually buying the software and installing it.

There are precisely zero reasons for buying Vista. Nothing works better in Vista than it does under XP. That's nothing, zero, zilch.

Security? Microsoft? You're having a laugh right? You'd buy a Microsoft operating system prior to it's first service pack to improve security?

So what you want is to cripple your computer's performance for the sake of eye candy. Eye candy that can be downloaded and installed for next to nothing already. And it's just as efficient at slowing your computer down and making it more unstable as the real thing.

I don't own a Mac, I don't use Linux - so just to make this clear I am a Windows user. I recently bought my kids a dual core 64-bit system.

It was average, nothing special, fairly cheap actually. I improved it's performance in all their games and applications by over 30% by moving from the supposedly 64-bit OS to regular XP Pro. Not even the 64-bit version (that's mostly because there are almost zero 64-bit games or applications for Windows - there are a couple and a few in development, but we don't own a single one).

World of Warcraft, their almost exclusive use for this computer, performs so much better they asked if I'd bought them a new processor, more ram and a top of the range video card.

But what about the future? Eventually we'll be forced to move to Vista won't we, and where we will be if we follow your advice and stick with XP?

Let's start with the fact you don't pay more than $50 for an OEM operating system (if you buy the PC from a manufacturer that includes the OS). Let's also see what happens if no one buys Vista for $200-$400 a pop. Want to bet the prices might fall just a tad.

No protesting to the government that Vista costs too much is almost as pointless as complaining Sony overpriced the PS3. They did, but that's not why it won't sell - it won't sell because there's absolutely no point in buying one unless you want a blu-ray player. The games are bland and unimaginative, and nothing you haven't seen a dozen times on any other system built in the last decade.

Actually I'm starting to think Microsoft are deliberately taking the piss. If it wasn't bad enough they opened up our computers to performance crippling malware, they thought they'd cut out the middle man and simply kill the performance of the computer just by installing the OS.

Don't buy Vista - it's unqualified shit.

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I'm back on XP

Tried Vista for six months. It sucked.

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Anonymous Coward

Haha....

Um....Rupert Roker.... Obviously you are rather ignorant of linux... because everyone knows... that photoshop isn't necessary.... they use GIMP or other open source stuff thats compaitable with photoshop and thensome.

As for the rest of your reasoning...

Did you know you can run windows on a mac? Let alone all those fancy games?

Gee... thats cool aint it?

T.T

BTW... why would anyone wan't to buy a copy of VISTA.... forget the price tag... you'd be out of your mind to purchase a copy... heck... raise the price! Scare off more customers. (Not like its worth the money as it is!)

Better off staying at XP is better..... or do all of the above mentiond... get yourself a Mac.... get VMWARE..and run any OS you wan't (for the most part) to your hearts content.

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Linux fans business models don't work!

Dear John Bishop,

I live on planet earth. What planet are YOU living on?

There are a few companies you might have heard of that who do not agree with you. Take a look at:

http://www.linux-foundation.org/en/Members

I know, you are the only one in the regiment who is walking in step :)

Steve

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Abuse of a dominant market position

According to the OFT website, it is prohibited for a monoply to charge excessively high prices:

Abuse of a dominant market position

Chapter II of Competition Act 1998 and Article 82 prohibit a business which holds a dominant position in a market from abusing that position.

A dominant position in a market essentially means that a business is generally able to behave independently of competitive pressures, such as other competitors, in that market.

Conduct which may be considered an abuse by a business in a dominant position includes:

charging excessively high prices

Source:

http://www.oft.gov.uk/advice_and_resources/resource_base/legal/competition-act-1998/prohibitions

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So Vista is too expensive?

I don't think so. I think it should cost US$10,000 per license, and that should be added to the price of the computer if it's preinstalled by the OEM. The price includes daily visits by a licesned technician who will remove all the trojans and viruses that the MS security hole delivery system (aka "Vista") helpd you install during the previous 24 hours.

This is a 90-day license. At the end of 90 days, you have to renew the license (at hte same price) or Vista stops working.

Make it expensive enough, and morons will stop using computers. Except for the government morons, of course.

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Anonymous Coward

Open source... good but not always quite 'there'

"everyone knows... that photoshop isn't necessary.... they use GIMP or other open source stuff thats compaitable with photoshop and thensome."

The GIMP is a commendable effort, but it still lags behind Photoshop in some of the professional features which are key for commercial printing and the serious photographer, at least without a lot of effort and messing about with patches and hacks. Also when used on X you are using it on a system that isn't even colour profile aware. With the prevalence of Digital SLR cameras now and raw file formats, RGB colour spaces, The GIMP is seriously a pain for even many amateur and semi-pro photographers.

I'm a fan of open source products where they provide a credible alternative to their commercial counterpart for the job, but you can't always pass off all open source works as the equal or better of the commercial choices.

Myself I use Firefox instead of IE because it initially had some nice features IE didn't have (and not a smug superior and misguided attitude about security), though IE is still sleeker. I use Open Office because it is generally a good MS Office clone and it's free. However I'm under no illusion that it is equal or better than MS Office, it's just for the average things people do with an Office app it's adequate and it's reasonably compatible with Office formats (but not perfect).

XP is perfectly fine for my purposes on the desktop. Solid, reliable, and doesn't limit my choice of software or require complex configuration. I'm no fan boy though. I use Linux for servers where it's best suited.

Macs? Nice eye candy and sleek, but it's an expensive choice. Indeed Vista is very much the same though the hardware to run it is at least cheaper, and why?... because with PCs you have competition, unlike with Mac hardware.

But on the subject of petitions and democracy. People should be petitioning their representative, i.e. their MP, not the leader of the government who will always stick with party policy. That representative should be doing their job and representing their constituents when they report to parliament. However sadly democracy fails here when MPs have to toe the party line and ignore the voice of the people.

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The Down*ing of the Street... a few questions

How about putting a copy of the $3 version of the Windows OS on the shelves beside the £350 Vista boxes that contain a lot of hot air? Which version would the punters buy?

What exactly are organizations that should be watching out for the consumers rights doing about the predatory dollar to whatever EU currency conversion that is currently abused by Adobe, Microsoft, etc? Are "watchdogs" like The Office of Fair Trading asleep on the job?

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Linux fans business models don't work!

Dear Steve

Er, how many of those companies are selling Linux as an alternative to Windows as a desktop OS in a high street store near you...

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Anonymous Coward

Misguided info

Just as an update to those who under the impressions that Macs are 'too expensive'. The simple fact is, in brand-name-to-brand-name comparisons, they are often equal or less expensive. Check it out for yourselves.The 90s are over.

In most businesses, MS Office is the standard. Macs run MS Office. If your office 'needs' something wacked out like Visio, Macs will run it via either Parallels or VMware using XP -- with zero performance hit. I know this for a fact, as some of my guys use MS Project on the Mac. Smooth.

In the end, Macs can easily run 2+ operating systems with ease while MS hardware can only run 2 (at best). What OS/hardware combo is the most flexible and cost effective? Uh-huh. Mac. Think about it before spreading ancient myths.

To play games, I just use my Playstation.

Oh, and in closing, my business is ALL Mac (23 seats) and we have zero probs keeping up the our clients using MS gunk.

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Photoshop vs GIMP

Four words stop me from using GIMP in Linux instead of Photoshop on my Mac (if I wanted to move from Mac to Linux) and those are: CYMK.

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Anonymous Coward

Government ignoring petitions.

Yet another petition ignored, so keep them coming. In fact I don't think the road pricing one was entirely ignored because I believe the Government were taken aback at the weight of feeling on that one; don't be complacent though.

The only way petitions will gain ground on Government thinking is if they keep coming, if we keep demanding to be heard.

As far as the Vista is concerned, it is price gouging, it should be stopped and the Government should direct the department of Fair Trading to "investigate it" in line with the wishes of the people. If those people who received the "fob off" emailed, or better wrote, back to 10 Downing Street and told them what they felt about the fob off then it would be harder to ignore.

The state will always try to fob things off in the hope they will go away. Then they try disinformation and twisted arguements. Persistence is the only way to get your way.

Democracy isn't perfect but that is no reason to not use the tools we have.

BTW, there is a petition demanding more "direct democracy", voting on the issues rather than on parties. Perhaps those with strong feelings would like to sign that one. 5 signatures so far, sad.

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Re: Haha....

As a photoshop semi pro, I can safely say the Gimp doesn't even compare. There are no layerstyles, for a start...

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What are the rules on importing?

Are we allowed to batch import vista and sell it on at a reduced cost?

To be truly free, the market has to be free for both the company AND the consumer.

We must be free to choose American prices else the whole system is a joke.

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If it were cheaper......

....but if Microshaft were to reduce the price of their full of holes OS then is it just possible that people will be less likely to have/want an illegal copy. I do not condone piracy but I can see why it is done. Why pay for shite when you can get it for free. I know that atm there are no (or very few) was to successfully crack Vista.

Come on people would you buy an expensive car if it needs to go back to the garage every few days........

The problem is that we as a species are frigging dependant on Microsoft especially in business. For example, some clinical apps in the NHS are written to run in Windows and Internet Explorer and will not run on other (in my opinion better) OSs or Firefox.

This is why Microshaft can charge what they want, especially in 18 months to 2 years when XP will convieniently disappear. Maybe by then Vista will be secure and be essentially unhackable..................................opps just fell off my chair laughing at what i typed.

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Hmmm... just dont buy Vista then

If Vista is too expensive... just vote with you wallet and dont buy it!

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Nobody buys Vista...

... Except hardcore gamers and the criminally gullable. What they buy is a shiny new PC with Vista preloaded and if M$ where charging £350 on each OEM PC then we would see people making a choice. Most of the time these people barely pay £350 for the whole PC.

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re: What are the rules on importing?

I'm with James here. There must be a way of simply buying up a load of stock on amazon.com or some cheap software site and then selling it here. Or even if you're not allowed at least you can buy personal your copy there.

Another option which is definitely legal is to buy your version from another EU country. Amazon.de has ultimate for 170€ - about 120 sterling. Amazon.fr strangely enough is charging the UK price - about 500 euro. These must be multi-lingual builds which should certainly include english.

I think the lesson here is that as EU citizens we should all be shopping around.

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Is it leagle to buy Vista abroad?

Of course it isn't. Just look at the licence. Once you own Vista you can't fart without Bill's written consent.

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If you edit text for a living, use Linux. For anything else, get a PC or Mac...

Linux is fine as an OS, and some variants offer nice eye candy. But ultimately most Linux users end up editing text -- either code, config files or wordprocessor docs.

If you're working in any creative field (illustration, photography, animation, game design, etc, etc) you need pro tools like Photoshop, Illustrator and Flash, none of which are available for Linux. The open source alternatives just aren't up to pro use.

Linux may be a robust OS, but with limited software support it just isn't an option for most people I know.

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Well this is rather simple

Don't buy Vista, seriously who needs WOW effect, have a look here http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=ZD7QraljRfM

Now that is a WOW effect... and it is Linux, and it is easy to use.

Vista?? well I'm not budging from my dual boot XP / Ubuntu

XP fr games, Ubuntu for everything else. So much faster and stabler.

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Anonymous Coward

Its broken, we could fix it but we won't

"The government's response was that, with few exceptions, there are no price controls in the UK - companies can charge what they like for products and services as long as they provide clear information on what those prices are."

Typical response of an incompetent government.

The problem exists BECAUSE there are no price controls. And whose job should it be to introduce price controls in a case like this where price controls are clearly and unambigously needed? I'll give you a hint ... it OUGHT to be the government.

Why do we elect MPs? Is it so that those MPs can create laws which we so desperately need, or is it so that incompetent governments can falsely claim we have a non-existent democracy?

In the case of software products, there's a very simple answer ... but that action will probably have to be taken by the EU because the UK government is far to incompetent to handle it itself.

To fix the problem at a stroke, the EU should declare that any company whose software in any EU country is costing more than 10% over the price being charged in any non-EU country can be given one month's notice to reduce its price to the same level, and if at the end of that month the problem is not rectified, the company forfeits its copyright on that software until such time as the cost is indeed reduced to that level.

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Grey imports not allowed

Contrary to the government's protestations it does in fact set the price because it gives legal protection to companies in allowing them to stop grey imports. If we could freely import software from the US and other (non-EU) countries there would soon be a true market and little to no price differences. The only reasons for the discrepanies are the legal protection afforded and the dominant position of the companies. It is no defence saying we are free to use other software because if we wish to do business with the USA then by and large we need to be compatible with their systems.

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Mac and Linux fan boys out of the woodwork again

The point here is clear - a new OS is overpriced by comparison to the US. Nothing new, but that doesn't mean people don't have a right to feel aggrieved.

Now Mac fanboys going on about Intel chips meaning you can game there too miss the point of cheap PC kit, or the hassle of drivers. I'm not going to pay 3-4 times as much to get a similar rig for XP.

Unix, Linux, etceterux, miss a similar point - avoiding emulation, or replacing Adobe Creative Suite 3 with GIMP...

Can you all just wait till a RELAVANT article before you throw down dozens of irrelevant comments? Thankyou.

In the meantime, what's relevant is that once again, Europe is seen as a wealthy market to exploit, and tightening laws and customs are making US imports harder...

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