Wednesday, 3 February 2016

MSDN Subscription - A Very British Rip-Off

So a few days back I was considering whether we should take the plunge and fork out for an MSDN subscription for all our developers, there is five of us and given where we want to be it made sense.

This was a cost that had been budgeted for so, in theory, this should not be a problem, but as with all large purchases, and for a small firm, 5 MSDN subscriptions is a Large purchase, which meant that we had to get approval from above so I went to this site to confirm prices.

5 x $1199 even at silly exchange rates, should be less than £5K, so I thought, this would be an easy sell as it was less than we had budgeted, boy was I wrong.

If you are in the UK, you can see for yourself here, which shows you this:


The exchange rate used by Microsoft is $1 = £1.01, rather than $1 = £0.68, so close to 50% surcharge. 

To put it another way, if we converted back to dollars, the price would be ~ $1780 rather than $1199.

I really like to hear an explanation from Microsoft, it certainly can't be the taxes the have to pay in this country, as the sales will probably be billed to the Irish subsidiary.

For the record this is the exchange rate today, according to Google:

and for the really lazy: 

I know there are resellers out there that do a cheaper price, it still does not change the fact that Microsoft itself applies an almost 50% surcharge to UK developers.


  1. Software is priced at different rates for different countries. I think it has more to do with the legal cost of operation in that country (compliance), rather than tariffs or excise taxes. This is common. It costs 3x as much to operate Adobe software in Australia. -Vance creator of ForeverScape

  2. Tim Cook was asked by the Australian Parliament to explain why software *downloads* cost large multiples in Australia of what they cost in the US.

    1. I did some hunting through possible explanations. I'm not sure how valid this one is, but it seems plausible from an import perspective.

      Adobe wants to be able to sell it at a retail store in a box. Costs are higher in Australia because salaries are higher than in the US for average workers and the economies of scale are not as good.
      The only way to drop the price to the level of the US would be to have it as a download and not available at a shop.
      If this happened then there would be other complaints about how buying from Adobe is sending money directly overseas and not contributing to the local economy at all.
      Adobe cannot drop boxed prices lower and if they drop the download price then they will destroy the local retail market in their product.
      This does not apply to iTunes though, they are download only so there should be no difference in price. I wonder how Apple justifies it?

    2. MSDN is a subscription service, since we need 5 subscriptions it would be cheaper to fly out to the US buy them and come back even with a night of hotel thrown in.