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Why Brits pay more for Win XP

Not our fault, screams Microsoft

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The smart choice: opportunity from uncertainty

In true Rip-Off Britain style, Brits will have to dig deeper into their pockets than Americans for Microsoft's Windows XP.

According to the software giant, an upgrade to Windows XP Home Edition will cost $99 in the US, with the full copy at $199.

In the UK this same software will be priced at £89.99 ($130) and £179.99 ($262).

Windows XP Professional will set Americans back $199 and $299, while Brits will pay £169.99 ($247) and £259.99 ($378).

When asked about the discrepancies, Microsoft churned out its usual lines - that the prices quoted for the US don't include tax (the UK prices include 17.5 per cent VAT), and the US uses economies of scale to help keep costs down.

"We can't compare across countries and continents," said Neil Laver, Microsoft Windows product marketing manager. "Outside the US margins have to be higher for economies of scale."

Apparently there is little difference between the European and US versions of the XP operating system - apart from the language used, obviously. So maybe the cheapest option would be for Brits to combine a US holiday with an IT shopping trip?

"There's nothing to stop you buying it (Windows XP) in the US and bringing it over," admitted Laver.

That is, presumably, as long as Her Majesty's Customs & Excise doesn't hear about it. ®

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