As has been previously reported, Microsoft is removing Internet Explorer 8 when it releases Windows 7 in Europe. Microsoft claims that pressure from the European Union has placed the company in a position that their choices were limited so they have opted to remove IE8 from Windows 7. But now Microsoft has released the pricing for Windows 7 in Europe and the prices are higher than what we will pay here in the U.S. Which raised the question if Microsoft is punishing the people of Europe for what Microsoft perceives as harsh punishment requiring that IE 8 be removed?

Over at ComputerWorld they cite the following pricing differences:

When the company launches Windows 7 on Oct. 22, it will price Windows 7 Home Premium, likely the most popular of the three editions available at retail, at €119.99 in the European Union (EU) and charge £79.99 in the U.K., an EU member that has retained its own currency. Those prices are the equivalent to $168.66 and $132.14 U.S., respectively, at Saturday’s exchange rates.

U.S. consumers will pay only $119 for the same software after a two-week pre-order sales discount expires July 11. That means EU residents will pay 41% more, and U.K. consumers 10% more, than U.S. buyers for Home Premium Upgrade.

Other editions will come with an even higher surcharge. Windows 7 Professional, the key retail edition for businesses, will sport a price tag of €285, or $400.60, and £189.99, or $313.84, at Saturday’s exchange rate. In other words, EU customers will pay twice the $199.99 U.S. price; U.K. buyers will pay 57% more.

The top-end Windows 7 Ultimate, priced at $219.99 in the U.S., will cost €299 ($420.27), or 91% more, in the EU, and £229.99 ($330.36), or 50% more, in the U.K.

Some of the money Microsoft stands to make on the European editions of Windows 7 comes from the weak dollar. Last week, for instance, the dollar fell against the euro the most in a month, hitting $1.41 per euro.

According to Microsoft, it’s also not reducing Windows 7’s prices from Vista’s current marks as much in the EU as it is in the U.S. Windows 7 Home Premium’s EU price is down €6, or 4% from the same Vista edition, half the 8% cut that Microsoft made to Home Premium in the U.S. In the U.K., Microsoft left prices untouched; Windows 7 will be priced the same as Vista.

Which also makes one believe that this higher pricing could force European consumers to embrace Linux. This higher pricing scheme could backfire and Microsoft could lose sales which they may blame on the practices of the European Union. So who’s right?

What’s your take on this new pricing for Europe?

Comments as always are welcome.

Source.