Let's look at the major components affecting the build cost of this little beauty here shall we?
First, there are the hardware manufacturers;
Hardware (Retail value £150)
Acer: design, test, certify, manufacture, market, distribute, support and warranty the unit.
Intel: design, test, manufacture and warranty the CPU
Nvidia: design, test, manufacture and warranty the Chipset (and possibly motherboard)
Seagate et al: design, test, build and warranty the HDD
Hynix et al: design, test, build and warranty the RAM
Various others provide components etc
All these guys put considerable money and effort into designing and producing all the hi tech components that go into making this little beastie and get to share in 60% of the sale value.
Then we look at the software side of the sale;
Windows Vista (Retail value £100 according to the price differential given)
1) Fail utterly to produce Longhorn
2) do a last minute facelift on a then six year old OS, producing the shiny turd that is Vista
3) Handball the support costs to the OEM
4) Disclaim any responsibility for product failure via exclusionary EULA (ie: Warranty? We say pah! to warranties)
5) Demand compensation for 40% of the value of the sale because they can!
6) $$$ profit! $$$
Now, I know I was working on retail pricing which is not the same as cost pricing but the ratio of software to hardware "value" is obvious.
Seriously, who outside of the MS army of shills, fanbois and NASDAQ investors can justify taking such a highly extortionate slice of the pie here? For what exactly? A slipshod, rushed out facelift to an aged OS? Take away the billions they blew on the most epic of all epic fails that was Longhorn then will someone please explain to me what of value they have actually contributed with the Vista product, a product that (should have) cost them relatively little to produce compared to the costs of designing and manufacturing hardware from scratch that will have an expected sales life measured in months?
The good news of course is that now that manufacturers have no excuse for putting XP on their tot PC's, they will end up pricing Microsoft way out of the market unless Uncle Fester and co decide to drop the prices of their company supporting cash cow to compete. Yes I realise that W7 has a netbook version that will I expect be cheapish but it will also be crippled and probably annoy people enough for them to switch to either Ubuntu or a pirated copy of windows. Except for the most 'tarded of the Wintards who will quite happily fork over more cash to the Beast of Redmond and thereby paying for the same product twice.