Explaining the higher cost of Office 365 in Australia

Regularly at partner forums and events run in Australia by Microsoft or Telstra a common issue is raised – the fact that Office 365 costs substantially more in Australia than in Singapore (where we share a data centre with the locals) or the US (where our dollar has a higher value than their own).
Telstra is often blamed for the price difference with what is commonly known in Australia as the “Telstra Tax” (basically paying a higher rate for something via Telstra because you can’t buy it elsewhere).
While I did a minor in banking & finance at university I am not an expert on macroeconomics and defining pricing on products that affect a nation.

The comments usually coming from partners that don’t transact many Office 365 licenses is that the pricing is ridiculous and that Telstra has no right to charge such ridiculous margins.
As you can imagine because Telstra is the largest and oldest telco in the Australia, so therefore people love to hate it.
Personally I neither love or hate the company. It’s a company made up of human beings that are not directly responsible for the issues I may have with the price of Office 365.
There are good and bad points to dealing with them, as you would expect there would be in dealing with any international company that provides a diverse range of products which cater to organisations of all shapes and sizes (including regular individuals).
I’m simply a realist. I built my business (Paradyne) around Office 365, and by extension Telstra (due to them being the exclusive syndication partner in Australia).

Like many Microsoft partners I agree that the price of Office 365 is substantially high when compared to that of the rest of the world. I have to explain this to about 10% of prospective customers that I speak to.
The difference between myself and many of the other partners “selling” Office 365 is that I can explain why the price is higher using logic and reason… and facts.
How did I get these facts? I asked. They made logical sense to me.

Some people may think that my latest article in BoxFreeIT is kissing Telstra’s a$$.
Others might allude to the fact that I was paid by Telstra to write it.

So then why did I write it? In the hope that some people might actually read it and understand, perhaps spend less time talking foul about a company that’s not necessarily to blame.
Money isn’t everything. You want Office 365? Pay the listed price for it and get on with your job.

Read the article at BoxFreeIT here: http://www.boxfreeit.com.au/Blog/why-australians-pay-double-for-office-365.html

UPDATE: There have been many comments on my BoxFreeIT article about a range of topics, unfortunately it seems that many of the readers are combining frustrations over the lack of price drop for Office 365 with the higher price they pay anyway through Telstra. Sticking to the point that Office 365 costs more in Australia regardless of Telstra it was quite timely that The Daily Telegraph published an article discussing the fact that Australians pay more for most pieces of software regardless of vendor. You can read more here: http://www.dailytelegraph.com.au/news/sydney-nsw/does-not-compute-how-aussies-are-being-ripped-off-over-it/story-e6freuzi-1226335639506

Also published on Medium.


  1. It may be worth noting that unlike New Zealand (where we are not part of a Syndicated model) the Australian experience of Office 365 has been “enhanced” by a dedicated circuit to Singapore. At the moment in New Zealand we experience varying latency due to individual telcos routing traffic to Singapore. In Australia both Telstra and Microsoft have paid a large sum of money to ensure the connection to the data centers in Singapore are both reliable and fast. (compare NZ latency of around 180ms with Australia of 20-30ms).

    You may pay more in Australia, but you get a “better” experience!

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