Microsoft gouges Australia lightly on Surface
Windows 8 tablet prices AUD$25-$41 higher than in USA
Australian punters frustrated by the fact they pay more than their North American brethren for Apple gadgets, despite the Australian Dollar currently buying more than one US Dollar, can now get just a little bit mad with Microsoft too, after the company today announced prices for its Surface tablets that exceed US prices.
Redmond issued a press release at 2:32 AM Sydney time announcing a “limited-quantity pre-order” of the tablets for Australians.
We’ve taken the prices in that release, compared them to the prices charged to customers in the USA (as we reported here), then used xe.com and its exchange rate at the time of writing of AUD$1=US$1.02881 to convert the US price.
Because the Australian price includes the 10 per cent Goods and Services Tax (GST), we’ve then added an extra ten per cent to the converted price to take into account the fact that US States impose their own sales taxes. Those taxes seldom hit ten per cent, but it’s as good a figure as any for the purposes of this exercise so we stuck with it.
Here are the results:
|Product||US$ Price||AUD$ price||Price in Australian dollars at today’s exchange rate||Price in Australian dollars if 10% sales tax added||Australian markup|
|32GB Surface, no touch cover||$499||$559||$485.02||$533.52||$25.48|
|32 GB Surface, with touch cover||$599||$679||$582.22||$640.44||$38.56|
|64GB with touch cover||$699||$789||$679.43||$747.37||$41.63|
|Colour touch cover||$119.99||$139.99||$116.58||$128.24||$11.75|
|Black touch cover with moving keys||$129.99||$149.99||$126.29||$138.92||$11.07|
The price increases are nastiest for the 32GB and 64GB surface models with cover, but even then are only a handful of per cent higher than US retail prices. In US states where sales tax is lower, that will blow out a bit.
Many companies complain that Australia is a costly place to do business. Tech companies also complain that Australia is a long way from their European or US bases, which means shipping costs are higher. That argument is almost certainly a furphy, as only an incompetent logistics operation would be incapable of sending one container-load of Surfaces from their (presumably) Chinese source to Australia and another to the USA, instead of insisting the tablets cross the Pacific twice.
At the time of writing it was still possible for Australians to order a Surface, here.
Microsoft has told El Reg "Pricing varies between markets based on factors such as local laws, taxes, such as the GST in Australia, and regulations. We're yet to learn which laws, taxes or regulations account for the premium Australians will pay for a Surface.
The price global electronics manufacturers charge Australian consumers is the subject of a Parliamentary inquiry, as Australian prices are frequently higher than those charged in other nations. ®
a further problem not considered...
The real problem is that for any sort of ordinary tech toy, a US shop buys from a manufacturer or wholesaler at a wholesale price and then offers it with whatever markup they see fit plus any taxes if applicable. Most of the price comparisons here are done on the odd assumption that our local distributor has to buy at US retail price before shipping the items here and attempting re-sale to we unhappy locals. In contrast if _we_ hop on a plane to defeat the unreasonable markups (or phone a friend or something) we will have to buy at retail... assuming anyone actually pays full whack for anything there.
Interesting of course to consider companies who don't have a wholesaler in the fulfillment chain, mostly those who manufacture and sell directly to the end-user... which includes Apple and seemingly now Microsoft amongst others. In this case they presume a build cost, a fixed markup and then set their retail prices. The attempts to wring more out of, to them, foreign customers just represents a poorly thought out strategy of passing on extra costs (like shipping from California regardless of where its built) directly to those customers. As the brand stores here have discovered, customers are happy to find ways to access goods at the cheapest price they can see it anywhere in the world, anti-competitive restrictions notwithstanding (and clearly we're becoming more and more adept at working around those too).
Better than Apple's iTunes gouging who charge as if shipping your digital download files from Cupertino on diamond discs packed with saffron.
Re: Australians get gouged by everyone!
@gisaber Even better, in OZ & NZ Heineken is also positioned as a 'premium' beer.
In the Netherlands it's just the equivalent of your everyday quaffing beer, like VB or Lion Red.
If you want premium, you either buy Grolsch for local, or better yet, a Belgian beer!
There are other local beers in Holland, but I can't remember them off the top of my head.
Icon is not a premium one, just the nearest one to hand - preferably one which has not had the flavour frozen out of existence.
Re: Gouging - stabbing, slashing, ad infinitum
The response will be the same as Blackberry and WebOS. Two questions will be asked:
1. When will the fire sale occur?
2. Can we root it and put android on it (or for more geek points debian)?
Why would i use a operating system that really reminds me of ubuntu. There are many similarities except that ubuntu is free and is not overpriced. Oh and i really object paying extra to be an Australian. SICK OF BEING ROBBED FOR TECH. http://www.theregister.co.uk/Design/graphics/icons/comment/unhappy_32.png