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'Australia tax' doesn't apply to Azure

Microsoft's exchange rates for discounted cloud kick in early in Aussie Dollars

Burning money, photo via Shutterstock

Microsoft is offering unintentional discounts to Azure users.

The discounts are available if you pre-pay for a year of Azure. If you do so, Microsoft kindly trims your bill by five per cent once you spend a certain amount. If you're billed in US Dollars, that threshold spend is US$6,000.

If you choose another currency, however, the threshold can be lower once translated into US dollars.

In the UK, for example, the threshold for discounted Azure kicks in at £3,670. When we ran that through online exchange rate tool xe.com on Monday, May 30th, we got an exchange rate of £1.46 to the greenback, or US$5,362 as the threshold point for Azure discounts.

If you pay for Azure in Sterling, you're therefore getting your discount sooner.

Here's a look at a few more currencies.

Currency Threshold for discount Threshold translated to US$ as of May 30th at xe.com Difference
AUD AU$7,650 $5,488 -$512.00
GBP £3,670 $5,362 -$638.00
CND C$7,300 $5,588 -$412.00
EUR €5,060 $5,617 -$383.00
INR INR360,600 $5,379 -$621.00
KOR ₩7,200,000 $6,058 $58.00
BRL R$22,500 $6,288 $288.00
NZD NZ$8,960 $5,982 -$18.00

As you can see from the data above, Brazilians get whacked and Koreans are out the price of a case of decent beer. But many other nations come out ahead.

The Register therefore suggests that readers contemplating pre-paid Azure shop around before committing. And perhaps see how they can acquire credit cards in countries with friendly thresholds.

If you do so, be mindful that you need to use all the Azure you pay for up front within a year, because Microsoft keeps any un-used credit. And of course keep an eye on exchange rates charged by credit card issuers, which can sometimes be lousy and have the potential to erase the savings we think are on offer.

Microsoft lists its thresholds for discounts here if you want to test your currency. ®

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