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We review between thirty and forty products in each issue of Windows Middle East, but whilst our expert tech-heads can advise on what’s hot and what’s not until we’re blue in the face, when it comes to product pricing, things do change. This means that it’s down to you guys to double-check everything before buying, and if you happen across any weird anomalies we’re only an e-mail away…

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By  Matthew Wade Published  October 25, 2005

|~||~||~|Of course I’d love for every bit of information Windows magazine gives, and you receive, to be 100% accurate forever more. But because the region’s IT market is constantly expanding and, as a result, product prices are continually changing, unfortunately that just isn't the case. We do, of course, put 100% effort into doing all we can to ensure what you read in Windows is spot on. When our WinLabs team reviews a product for publication in Windows, we ask the vendor (in most cases the manufacturer or, if it doesn’t have an office here, then its local distributor) to advise us of its recommended end user price for that particular product. In the vast majority of cases this is very close - if not identical - to the price you end up seeing at your local computer shop or nearest so-called ‘power retailer’. Is this approach perfect though? Is it heck. In an ideal world, I’d employ a team of ten phone fiends to call every chain store and give our readers every region-wide price for each product we test. But I’m afraid here at Windows we, like you, inhabit the real world and, as such, the price of a product you read about two months ago might be different by the time you’ve put some cash aside and decide to buy it. Aside from product prices falling within weeks of their launch onto the market, different retailers will of course always charge slightly different prices for the same product, so we expect to receive the odd reader e-mail telling us the price we printed wasn’t the price they saw in the local brand of ‘IT retailer X’. Of course, it’s also crucial that manufacturers are as accurate as we try to be, by telling us the right price in the first place. Here’s the confession then: as you’ll read in the news section of our next issue, a price mishap occurred back in our April issue when – it now turns out –we published an inaccurate price for a particular desktop PC system. Through recent investigation, my team discovered that although the manufacturer in question had given us a price for the fully specified desktop system we tested, this price – it turns out - was in fact actually for a more basic version of the PC that didn’t include the Windows OS nor a graphics card. Bit of a difference there then, and you can imagine the communal “doh!” that emanated from the WinLabs when we found out. Now was this a case of the vendor 'trying it on' or us getting our prices in a muddle? Well let’s just say the jury is out on that one, but this whole issue emphasises the point that we can only do so much at this end. Thus, what makes Windows the perfect fit with its readers, is when you guys pitch in and flag up any inaccuracies or suspect info. The problem above for instance, was first brought to our attention by a reader’s e-mail, after the man in question spoke to the manufacturer and was quoted a very different price to that which he'd expected. The moral of this rant being: tell us! With your help, we can both make Windows an even more valuable, regional read, and apply real consumer pressure where and when it’s needed. So, if you’ve noticed a Windows botch, been ripped off, endured some of the worst IT consumer service in history or – like our WinLabs Editor recently – nearly blown yourself up playing around with power supplies, we’d love to know about it. While we’re at it, I’d also value your thoughts on another matter. Our next issue of Windows will be cover dated January 2006 (can you believe it?), which means part of our job this month is planning exactly what feature articles and reviews will go into the mag next year. This task is almost done, but we wouldn’t be the reader-focussed publication we are if we didn’t give you guys, the readers, the opportunity to have your say. Wing your comments, suggestions, gripes or any other views our way on windows@itp.com. ||**||

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