Windows Vista is just ten days away from release in the UK. After the long build up, the extensive reviews and tutorials – including the ones in the new issue of PC Advisor – you’d be forgiven for thinking there’s nothing left to say about the new OS. But you’d be wrong.

One of the hottest topics in PC Advisor’s Windows Vista forum is the price of the OS and, more specifically, the price premium UK users are expected to pay. PC Advisor was the first publication to spot the huge price difference between the US and UK and forum members want to know the reasons behind it.

“I realise that they have to pay all sorts of local costs but that is probably also true across states (or indeed between the US and Canada): do they charge different prices depending on how expensive it is to rent office space in a state or whether they produce a Spanish version for that state?” asks PurplePenny.

The high cost of running a business in rip-off Britain is regarded by some in the forum as a reasonable justification for a markup of some sort. But up to 80 percent? josie mayhem’s not convinced: “I do agree that there is or should I say some price difference due to different taxation in different countries but I very much doubt it would be double the cost. Anybody remember what happened to Nike when the Americans found out the true cost of the trainers... voted with there feet, refused to buy any Nike product until Nike reduced their prices to a realistic production/profit cost ratio.”

But boycotting a particular brand of trainer is different to boycotting the world’s dominant operating system, argues Pyroxide: “Enough people are willing to pay the price Microsoft have set so therefore Microsoft won't lower it. If the market can no longer sustain that price it'll decrease but we may be waiting some time for that.”

“It's not like there is a real viable alternative for the Home/Small Office Desktop market that they are competing against. Even the free OSes are hardly making a dent,” adds PaulB2005.

It’s an important point, Linux has become the operating system of choice among Microsoft-hating techies, but it’s seen as a complicated alternative to Windows by the mass market. Home users are highly unlikely to switch to open-source on the basis of its perceived complexity and lack of support.

So what’s the solution if UK buyers are put off by the high cost of Vista? Our very own Forum Editor believes that the obvious choice is staring us all in the face: “My own view is that there's a danger of the company being hoisted with its own petard - it made Windows XP so good, and Vista so expensive that a lot of potential purchasers might just decide to stay put, and leave Visa for a while, until new software products designed specifically with Vista in mind force them to migrate.”

Go here to let us know what you think.

This article appears as part of our comprehensive guide to Windows Vista.