Does Microsoft Price Gouge Europe?

Lockergnome subscriber Anthony Down is of the opinion that Microsoft is gouging its European customers. I’m seeking clarification on his assertions, hoping that someone from Microsoft’s European division can clarify the situation – as I’d only assume this is a mathematical error:

I am and have been a subscriber to Lockergnome and Tech News Watch for several years, albeit here, over the “pond” in Europe. I enjoy the mags and have gained a great deal from them, thanks and keep up the good work.

My purpose in mailing you is to draw your attention to the fact, and ask why is it that Microsoft policy appears to be directly involved in gouging their European customers for more than 100% on product prices.

Microsoft advertise Office Professional for $412.00 (Download) in the US. The same product again downloaded (From the Microsoft catalogue, not a third party retailer) to European customers is Euro 615.00. When the exchange rate is calculated, this makes the price of the package $824.00. Whilst we are used to just seeing the currency sign changed ($412.00 becomes Euro 412.00), this blatant ripping off is the very thing that encourages individuals to commit acts of piracy, as we see that Microsoft is involved in an alternative form of piracy on a huge scale.

I had decided to purchase a copy, and whilst the actual price is somewhat high, that fact alone did not immediately deter me, but when I saw the US price, I decided that perhaps it is time to investigate other options. I am not a “Microsoft Basher” (well until now!) but this makes me feel that it may well be time to completely review options available from O/S up, which for me is sad, as I feel that they are quality products.