Obviously neither of you posters has ever been a teacher. I mean a “real” teacher, not a privileged foreigner teaching in a language school.
Most public school teachers in most countries spend A LOT of their money on stuff for their classrooms or for doing their job – things that you would expect to be provided by your office if you had an office job. The pay isn’t usually up to par with what the same person could command in the business world, either. I’ve personally supplied my own computer, monitor, tape recorder/CD player, countless bits of paper, markers, props, toys, etc., and used my own computer and my own (legally purchased) software to produce teaching materials for my classes (this was in the US at the high-school level, in a PUBLIC school, too!)
In the US M$ offers an “academic discount”, which they offer here too. The problem is that here it isn’t enforced very well, and I doubt that most people know about it.
With the Internet what it is today, why couldn’t M$ place a copy of their products on the Web and restrict access to, say, teachers with a password? The teachers would then be required to save their stuff to that server, so that theoretically M$ could “monitor” what they were using the software to do. School-related content, fine; personal stuff, and your password gets cut off. A bit paternalistic for my taste, but if the teachers really want the software for school, that might be one solution.
Or, for heaven’s sake, provide “outdated” versions of the software for free? Who needs every microscopic M$ update and upgrade to their products? I got along fine with the version of MS Word that was out in 1986, the one that fit on a single 5.25" floppy. Sure, it’s nice to have sophisticated tables and insert movies in a document, but for 99% of the stuff people do it’s excess.