back to article Microsoft licensing hike sparks UK piracy, bankruptcy fears

Reseller NCI Technologies has urged Microsoft to shelve the planned pricing overhaul that could see UK customers paying between 20 to 35 per cent more for volume licences. Redmond will align volume licence pricing in the EU - except for academic programmes - to the euro currency from 1 July in a bid to drive some consistency …


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  1. Tom Chiverton 1

    Trish should encourage a move to Free/Open software if she is so concerned then.

    1. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      Yeah, right...

      Once she has secured the budget to get all of their LOB systems converted to run on Free/Open software. Simples...

      1. Anonymous Coward
        Anonymous Coward

        Re: Yeah, right...

        but it's a one-off expense. Nobody said you should migrate all your systems, just start with some of them until you get comfortable. You could also fire some of those who advised you to stay 100% Microsoft last time when licenses were renewed. As usual, if there is a will there is a way.

    2. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      @Tom Chiverton 1 - I'm afraid it may be impossible

      Reselling FOSS does not bring any money. On to the other hand, UK customers could try to fake an increased interest in FOSS. It has worked so nicely in the past so it might work again.

      Anyway, as an advice to UK businesses: just before bankruptcy you may give FOSS a try. Heck, you have nothing left to lose!

      1. Destroy All Monsters Silver badge

        "just before bankruptcy you may give FOSS a try. Heck, you have nothing left to lose!"

        Indeed my good sir. Unfortunately, you cannot sell the Microsoft licenses, can you? They cannot be auctioned off either. What a shame. What a shame.


      2. Tom Chiverton 1

        Re: @Tom Chiverton 1 - I'm afraid it may be impossible

        >Reselling FOSS does not bring any money

        Of course not, do a Red Hat (Dead Rat in El Reg speak ?) and sell services/training on top...

      3. Anonymous Coward
        Anonymous Coward

        Re: @Tom Chiverton 1 - I'm afraid it may be impossible

        RedHat $1BN per year is money missing from Microsoft's and Oracle's coffers. FOSS TCO has be shown to be slightly less than proprietary. tells of more growing Opensource companies.

    3. LarsG


      Please explain why there is not a standard licence price ACROSS THE WORLD?

      With todays computers it would be easy enough to build in Exchange rate mechanisms.

      So why do you charge us so much more in the UK?

      1. toadwarrior

        Re: DEAR MICROSOFT...

        You're paying extra to have it translated into British English.

        1. Anonymous Coward
          Anonymous Coward

          Re: Re: DEAR MICROSOFT...

          You mean of course 'proper English' then why, pray, keep reverting to American.

          I still go and see films, wear trousers, my wife wears the suspenders and will never use that strange word aloooooominum.

          I can also use a knife and fork correctly, do not drawl and we grow potatoes to fit out mouths over here. Fortunately Microsoft's has no control over this.

      2. Qu Dawei

        Re: DEAR MICROSOFT...

        I discovered recently that its worse than that: I had to buy a replacement Windows machine recently because my old one broke irretrievably. I had bought it in the UK, and all was fine with it. Since I am now in China, I had to quickly buy a Chinese PC. The only safe ones I could buy only had Windows 7 Basic on them, and I found that to change the language to English (any kind, I'm not fussy becauise it is a priority), I had to pay mega-bucks to first upgrade to the Windows Ultimate editon. Just another excuse to make money.

        The interface is subtly different; in the Chines version, the position of some options are not the same compared with the English version (so I can't use memory to recall what meu item to choose). Also, the shortcut keys are not the same. They seem to have made it as difficult as possible to simply change languages so that they can squeeze more money out of you. Before, I was displeased with Microsoft; now I hate them. Furthermore, if I install software (freeware, shareware or licensed), it often uses as an interface language the settings it finds on the computer, so everything is set up using Chinese as well. The option to change to English is sometimes not there at all, and if it is, one needs to understand Chinese to be able to find out how easily. I used to be reasonably proficient using Windows, but because I cannot read many Chinese characters, I've sudenly become a functional 8 year old or worse when using it in Chinese.

        On Linux, such language changes are done easily. The problem for me is that I must use Windows because of reasons completely outside my control. If I could, I'd ditch it tomorrow.

        1. Allan George Dyer Silver badge

          Re: Re: DEAR MICROSOFT...

          I agree with your language frustrations. On the installation problems, it might help you to know that some developers choose the installation language based on the default character set in the Regional Settings, change to Traditional Chinese, and the installer starts in Chinese, change to Western Europe/US and the installer starts in English. There is also a command-line option for msi to force the language, something like:

          msiexec /i A:\Example.msi ProductLanguage=1033

          for US English, but YMMV.

        2. Wensleydale Cheese Silver badge

          Re: Re: DEAR MICROSOFT...

          @Qu Dawei

          I feel your pain and have a similar experience with German versions of Windows software. A lot of software gets this right and offers a language selection either for the installation or afterwards through the settings menu, but some doesn't and you are stuck with it. I'm pretty fluent in German, but when I'm supporting an English speaker I want to see the same screens and menu options that they do.

          Apple gets this one right .- my OS X systems are set up for English yet I can still set my time zone and date, time and currency formats to my local variations without having random apps dive into German. On OS X I can select a different language either by user or at run time if I want to, and this is very handy when I have guests or for support.

          Another thing that Microsoft gets wrong here is that even if you buy a multilingual version of their software, the license will tell you that you are only allowed to use the language used on the first installation. Bang go your rights to select one of the other languages in that pack if you decide to pass your computer on to someone who speaks another language.

          P.S. I also hate websites that decide which language I want for downloaded software based on my IP address, but that's a story for another day...

        3. Mitch Kent

          Re: Re: DEAR MICROSOFT...

          I don't think you can have several languages at once, but you can reinstall from a disk and choose english. That's what I did when I bought my laptop in Germany. Takes a while to get used to the character keys being in different places but you'll be an expert touch typist in no time!

          1. big_D Silver badge

            @Mitch Kent

            With Vista and 7 Ultimate, you can change language as much as you want (logout / restart required ISTR). I have both English and German installed on my laptop, but to be honest, I never bother going back to English these days.

          2. Wensleydale Cheese Silver badge

            @Mitch Kent

            I managed to skip Vista, but under 7 Ultimate once you have got Windows Update working, you are presented with 35 or so optional updates which cover all the languages you will probably need.

            Unfortunately, if I remember correctly, you need to log out and in again after selecting another language.

            I'm well used to switching keyboard languages. Swiss German keyboards really slow you down for programming though, so I bought a US keyboard for my main Apple system.

            But I use a Swiss German keyboard for writing correspondence in German because it has the accented characters.

      3. Anonymous Coward
        Anonymous Coward

        Re: DEAR MICROSOFT...

        Oh for goodness sake, do you really want a lecture on how local economies work? How about:

        a) Because you really don't want prices changing every single day

        b) Because you want some stability in your pricing so you can forecast what your sales revenue will be without have to second guess currency fluctuations

        c) Because your staff you employ (directly or indirectly) in each country to support those sales won't want their salaries fluctuating on daily basis according to exchange rates

        d) Because those staff have different cost-of-living expenses in different countries

        e) Because taxes are not the same in each country (import, sales, employment, corporation, etc.)

        f) Because costs of sales (excluding taxes mentioned above) are different in each country (think translation costs, advertising costs, etc.)

        I could go on...

        1. Anonymous Coward
          Anonymous Coward

          Re: Re: DEAR MICROSOFT...

          'Oh for goodness sake, do you really want a lecture on how local economies work? How about:'

          I refer you to your last line 'I could go on'

          You do, and you have on and on and on.

      4. big_D Silver badge


        That is what MS are trying to do... The problem is, the Pound has bombed and is worth a lot less than it was, the pound is worth around 45% less than when I left the UK, so a price hike for harmonisation isn't "excessive".

        I'd like it, if they sank the Euro prices to reflect the UK prices, but that isn't going to happen.

        Still, at least they aren't as bad as Adobe...

      5. Tom 13

        Re: DEAR MICROSOFT...

        Because thems that play in the exchange rate biz usually get burned if they aren't actual currency traders with margins on both sides of the trade.

    4. Nuke

      She ???

      RTFA again, it is >>Andy<< Trish. Yes, I had to look back when he was referred to later as "Trish", which is usually a nickname for "Patricia".

      Unless of course you are RMS, who has a peculiar manner of refering to everyone in general as "she", despite looking extremely unshe-like himself.

  2. moiety

    Paying that extra £8k for a Linux admin suddenly isn't looking all that expensive now...

    1. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      Especially... the "more expensive" Linus admin can maintain more servers, leading to a lower TCO.

      1. Goat Jam

        Re: Especially...


        Where I work we have 4 server admins who are responsible for about 20 servers and 1 unix guy looking after about 60.

        Recently they were working out the "Licensing" budget. It took one of those windows guys about two months to figure out that we needed to pay MS about a million dollars for this year.

        I cannot understand why companies continue to do business like that.

        1. Anonymous Coward
          Anonymous Coward

          Re: Re: Especially...

          '..Where I work we have 4 server admins who are responsible for about 20 servers and 1 unix guy looking after about 60..'

          And I *used* to be like your Unix guy, oh, on top of that, hello bloody mission creep...also ended up doing the damn'd Windows stuff as well (server *and* desktop) as I was more 'available' than the Windows 'team'.

          One day though, life's too fscking short.


          Now laugh at all these stories (and the ones about the shortage of Linux mortgage is paid off, I'm not going back)

          1. Anonymous Coward
            Anonymous Coward

            Re: Re: Re: Especially...

            Yes, funnily enough I too was that Unix guy, until I got jack of it and asked to be moved.

            I can't recall how many times I overheard the Windows guys discussing the latest problem de jour and having to bite my lip and refrain from telling them that the problem could be solved trivially by using a *nix box and a cron job (or whatever). Truth is they get sick of hearing about non windows solutions because they all have MS certificates that they have heavily invested in so they are therefore not prepared to listen to anything that does not reinforce their existing training investments.

            Everything seems so much more complicated on Windows (as long as you don't suffer from command line phobia of course) and problems invariably need to be solved by purchasing yet another commercial software product which usually doesn't work as advertised and sometimes makes things worse.

            As you say, life's too short.

            1. The BigYin

              Re: Re: Re: Re: Especially...

              Command Line? Install Webmin for point-click MS monkeys.

  3. TeeCee Gold badge

    I'm not surprised the resellers are hacked off.

    They must be doing a roaring trade in exports to the rest of the EU at the moment.

    You have to remember that when some spokesdroid stands on his hind legs and moans about how bad XYZ is for everyone, you need to remember that what they actually mean is that it's bad for them.

    1. xyz

      Re: I'm not surprised the resellers are hacked off.


      >>>You have to remember that when some spokesdroid stands on his hind legs and moans about how bad XYZ is for everyone,

      Did I used to go out with you or something? I know most people don't like me, but the above is a bit off. Enough of the name calling already

  4. BeeGeeDee


    The euro price of some MS products are already about double the dollar price and the current sterling prices are just as bad. They can't use VAT as an excuse as VAT is not 100%.

  5. Crofty616

    Working in the IT department of a Insolvency company I am unsure how to take this news... lol

  6. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward


    They screw over us true English speakers, and they don't have to do any extra work for us, like translate their software.

    In fact they don't even try, "color" still abounds even in Windows 7, and the memory of "Network neighborhood" and "favorites" is still pretty fresh.

    1. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      Re: Charming...

      Define true English.

      There was a fashion for using the French spellings for a while, hence why those in the UK use centre.

      So parts of the USA English are more "true" than the UK English.

      Although "aloominum" must be killed with fire.

      1. Anonymous Coward
        Anonymous Coward

        Re: Re: Charming...

        Actually - and it does pain me to say it - from a technical point of view Aluminum is the correct spelling.

        1. Anonymous Coward
          Anonymous Coward

          Re: Re: Re: Charming...

          So what? It's not the spelling that is in question, just left-ponders ridiculous pronunciation.

          alu - not al-oo, but al-you

          min - got that bit fine

          um - not oom, but yum

        2. Eddie Edwards

          Re: Re: Re: Charming...

          "The International Union of Pure and Applied Chemistry (IUPAC) adopted aluminium as the standard international name for the element in 1990 but, three years later, recognized aluminum as an acceptable variant."

        3. Piloti
          Thumb Down

          Re: Re: Re: Charming...

          Actually, I am sorry to say, you arewrong.

          This is from the OED [Oxford English Dictionary] :

          aluminium (United States aluminum )

          n noun a strong, light, corrosion-resistant silvery-grey metal, the chemical element of atomic number 13. (Symbol: Al)


          aluminize or aluminise verb

          aluminous adjective


          C19: from alumina + -ium.

      2. Anonymous Coward
        Anonymous Coward

        Re: Re: Charming...

        Nice try, but it wasn't a fashion, it's due to English evolving along with a French speaking Norman invasion. Many many French words were absorbed into the language. Pretty much anything that ends in "tion" is French.

        I think if you want to define true English, a country called England might have more than a head start as the home for it ;-)

        1. This post has been deleted by its author

          1. expat jan

            Re: Re: Re: Re: Charming...

            "he result of Old French impacting on Old English"

            Well, it seems that the sloppy ex-colony across the Pond has yet again made an impact upon elegant and perfectly adequate grammatical construction and style. Or are you AC because you dare not admit publicly to such wanton destruction of Real English?

            1. This post has been deleted by its author

      3. toadwarrior

        Re: Re: Charming...

        Humphry Davy, a british man, originally used Aluminum. It was only changed to match the whole "-ium" naming scheme already in place.

  7. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    "...secondly it will "promote piracy""

    Probably will, a bit, but I doubt that that will be the most significant impact. I would have thought that any company willing to pirate volume licenses would already be doing it and not worry about this change.

    I think the real impact will be as suggested by others above - a significant shove in the direction of non-microsoft products, mainly Free/Open. MS licensing is a nightmare to understand as it is, and this insult (ie "fuck you customer, we don't really care about you") piled on top will be, for many, the last straw (at least I hope so).

    1. Miek

      Re: "...secondly it will "promote piracy""

      Perhaps $MS should create a solid activation process and do away with OS piracy, oh wait, that might damage their worldwide uptake of their OS.

    2. mhenriday
      Big Brother

      «I think the real impact will be as suggested by others above -

      a significant shove in the direction of non-microsoft products, mainly Free/Open. ...» In a perfectly rational world, JustaKOS, that would certainly be the case, but given the fact that the main qualification held by so many technical personnel is a Microsoft Certificate, there will inevitably be a great deal of internal resistance to such a change. FOSS won't have a sporting chance until IT workers receive a broader education/training in computer science - which, of course, is one of the reasons that Microsoft exerts such efforts to monopolise such education and training....


      1. Anonymous Coward
        Anonymous Coward

        @mhenriday - MS Certification

        Depressing though your words are, I have to agree that FOSS won't have a real chance until the obsession with certification in products ends. It might also give us old farts a sporting chance as well : skill and experience count for naught these days as most job reqs include a list of certifications. Often the certs are there to provide a filter which selects for those who've sat exams, rather than those who have actual experience and ability.

  8. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    Its a bit of a scum move in general. How does this level the playing field over europe when the price here is already higher and the pound has got worse against the euro?

    1. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      @AC 17:05

      You don't make sense. As I understand you, you seem to think the GBP price in the UK is higher than the Euro price in the rest of Europe so if they are normalizing prices to the euro then the eventual UK price would be less. However, I think you'll find the complaint is that the UK will start paying the same higher price as mainlain Europe, 20-35% according to the article. So your rant about the UK already paying higher prices is unwarranted.

      But never mind, I constantly hear that the Euro is dead and worth less than tuppence so when this is implemented UK customers will be able to buy a licence for the entire MS catolog for three and six.

  9. ratfox Silver badge

    Yippee, I'm Swiss!

    Shame I never buy Microsoft stuff...

  10. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    Then there's the VAT

    You might buy from MS in GBP but you will pay the IRISH VAT rate of 23%.

    Then you have t ospend more time reclaiming it.

    Last year it took HMRC 8 months to get their act together as they were'nt clued up on the Irish VAT change.

    Dealing with MS is like trying to climb a pole covered in oil, snake oil.


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