Vista buyers, prepare to be fleeced

The dollar-pound exchange rate is heading ever closer to the magic £1:$2 point, which suddenly makes it all too easy to compare prices on both sides of the Atlantic. And the first victim of such calculations, I suggest, will be Microsoft. Brace yourselves, TVP.

US residents will be expected to pay $239 for an upgrade from Windows XP to Vista Home Premium. A quick bit of mental arithmetic reveals that to be about £119.50 sterling. But according to stories circulating here at Christmas, you should be expecting something closer to £200 – or higher.

Oh, and to make matters worse: Microsoft will be making it available as a download to North American purchasers, who use the exact same internet that we do in the UK, at those same lovely dollar prices. I look forward to seeing them justify it.