A PC Advisor forum member’s effort to encourage the UK government to pressure Microsoft into bringing down the cost of Windows Vista is gaining support.

Paul Milne set up a petition on the website of 10 Downing Street earlier this week, and hopes to persuade Prime Minister Tony Blair to take action. He encouraged other forum members to sign it, and the protest has already attracted the attention of other IT news websites. Nearly 1,000 people had added their name to the petition by Friday morning.

“There is a huge difference in the price that people in the US and the UK are paying for Windows Vista,” says Milne on the government’s E-Petitions website. “As an example of this, in the UK a full copy of Vista Ultimate would cost you £350, in the US it would cost you £195,” he says.

“The US version of Vista is exactly the same as the UK version. There is no difference.”

PC Advisor forum members have pointed out that the petition is unlikely to have any impact, since the government doesn’t set the price of retail goods and has no remit to interfere with commercial decisions such as these. And, as we’ve reported before, Microsoft has stressed that Windows Vista’s price is set by retailers, not by Microsoft itself.

However, while 1,000 signatures hardly counts as a mass protest, other forum members who feel ripped off by Vista’s UK price premium have welcomed the opportunity to vent their frustration.

“How is the man on the street able to make Microsoft hear that he is unhappy with the price difference between the UK and the US?” said Milne.