10 years ago, to explain why a book published in the US would cost twice as much when reaching Europe (while authors used to get a much smaller stake in royalties) people in the business referred to the "booksellers dollar", a currency only vaguely related with the actual US dollar and its rate exchange. The bookseller dollar was generally worth 1.5 times the US dollar.

Now we can probably use a new term, the software dollar or IT dollar. Over the last 5 years, while you needed one dollars and 20 to 30 cents to buy a Euro, most software companies used a 1:1 ratio. A recent case was InterBase 2007. I saw a slide with the US pricing and one with the Euro pricing, and they were identical, but the currency symbol. This means InterBase 2007 is 30% more expensive in Europe than in the US. But Delphi pricing is based on a similar rate: if you open shop.borland.com and (for example) shop.borland.it, you can see for yourself that prices are identical but the currency. Again, Delphi is 30% more expensive in Europe than in the US. Can someone explain me why? Of course there is no shipping, as Delphi boxes are produced in Europe as well.

Apple is another company well known for using the same 1:1 rate exchange for its iPods, iTunes songs, Macs, but many other follow the same nonsense rule.

This is nothing, however, compared to what Microsoft is doing (or trying to do?) with Windows Vista. If you look at this US page you can see that the suggested retail price for Vista Business is $299.00 USD, with the upgrade at $199.00 USD. Now if you go to the Italian page (but I guess this is the same all over Europe) you can find out that Vista Business street price is expected to be 499.99 Euro with the upgrade at 299.99 Euro. At the current exchange rate, for the full version this means paying 650 dollars instead of 299, more than twice as much. The next time Microsoft complains about software piracy in Italy, I know who is to blame...