A mere $2,000 will buy you Microsoft's 'Ultimate' bundle of Vista and Office 2007, or a damned good dual-core desktop PC. Which would you choose?
With the release of local pricing for Windows Vista, we now know that the top-shelf Vista Ultimate package will set buyers reeling with its $751 price tag.
Now we're waiting for the other shoe to drop. That shoe, of course, is Office 2007, for which Microsoft plans a new 'Office Ultimate' version containing the 2007 builds of Word, Excel, PowerPoint, Outlook, Publisher, Access, OneNote, the Groove P2P virtual workspace and the more esoteric InfoPath XLM-based workflow platform.
While the company's outpost has yet to announce Aussie pricing for any edition of the supersuite, US pricing has already been revealed. Stateside punters will be asked to pony up $US679 for Office Ultimate 2007.
Although there's no equivalent megamix version of Office 2003, prices for other editions of Office 2007 are largely identical to their Office 2003 counterparts. For example, both the 2003 and 2007 'Standard' versions cost $US399, with the Professional packages parallel parked at $US499.
So let's do a quick exercise in mathematics. We can calculate the 'difference factor' in the US between Office Ultimate 2007 and Office Standard 2007 as 1.7 (that is, 697/399). And we know that, at least in the US, the prices for Office 2007 and Office 2003 are identical.
This means we can guesstimate the Australian price of Office Ultimate 2007 as being 1.7 times the local price for Office Standard 2003, which is $675. So that's 1.7 x $675... carry the 1... okay, are you sitting down?
Because the result is a whopping $1,149! And let's also remember that the when APC did a similar exercise to predict the local cost of Vista we actually came in around 10% under the final figure, so Office Ultimate 2007 could end up closer to $1,260.
Toss in Vista Ultimate and you're looking just over $2,000 for an 'ultimate' pairing of Microsoft's OS and productivity suite.
On the other hand, a few quick clicks at Dell's online store revealed that for about the same price you could pick up a Dimension 9200 desktop built around Intel's Core 2 Duo E6400 powerplant with 1GB of RAM, a 256MB ATI Radeon X1300 graphics card, 320GB hard drive, TV tuner card and 19in LCD display.
So, if you've got $2,000 to hand you can buy Microsoft's latest and greatest software platform, or a PC to run it on. I know which one I'd choose...