Bentley Systems launched its Webstore today, featuring a 4% discount off the price of MicroStation. For that price, you download the software, so no CD or printed manuals.
I was shocked to see MicroStation priced at US$4,795 (on one page; on another page, the price is $4,595) -- $1,400 more than Autodesk's Webstore price for AutoCAD 2004 for physical shipment (includes the box, CD, and printed docs).
Then I realized MicroStation V8 includes one of the vertical applications -- or duz it? Reading the product description, there is no mention that a vertical app is included; those listed have a price tag attached, like $1,295 for Architecture -- $495 more than Autodesk's Architectural Desktop. Maybe I'll be corrected on what's incuded with V8.
The site is for purchasers located in Australia, Canada, Germany, United Kingdom, and United States. Being located in Canada, I was curious about "our" price. Lessee, CDN$7,435 divided by US$4,595 gives me an exchange rate of ... 1.62. Opps! Someone's being hosed (as we say in Canada). The exchange rate is around 1.33 these days (and has been for better part of a year). An accurate price would be CDN$6,100.
Checking the other prices...
Bentley's German price of e6,200 assumes an exchange rate of 1.35, but should be 0.8 (e3,675).
Autodesk's German price of e4,634 assumes an exchange rate of 1.36 (adjusted for VAT).
Bentley's British price of ₤4,595 assumes an exchange rate of 1.0, but should be 0.54 (₤2,480).
Autodesk's Britsh price of £3,811 (e5,716) assumes an exchange rate of 0.96 (adjusted for VAT).
Bentley's Australian price of AUS$7,450 assumes an exchange rate of 1.62, but should be 1.3 (AUS$5,973).
Australians and Canadians can't buy AutoCAD online.
(The European prices do not include a tax of 17.5%; there is no mention by Bentley of taxes on the Canadian, Australian, and American prices.)
Companies are free to charge whatever price the market will accept, but it is hard on international customers to pay the US$ price converted to local currency, plus a hefty surcharge. It's interesting that prices are still so disparate between countries.
Lower prices are possible. Microsoft lowered its pricing for the Thai government, and today we have news that consumers in Malyasia will start paying far less for XP and Office.