Microsoft gets generous with Office Ultimate 2007

When it comes to productivity suites, Microsoft's long-running Office almost always gets top billing. Sure, there are alternatives like OpenOffice and StarOffice available to consumers, but Office sets the standard.

The latest version of the software suite, Office 2007, was released to OEMs on November 30, 2006. Retail customers were able to take possession of the software on January 30, 2007.

One area where Microsoft hasn't always been competitive with Office, however, is with pricing. While OpenOffice and StarOffice (most recently) are available for free, Office 2007 can get a bit pricey when you start piling on applications.

Pricing ranges from $149 for Microsoft Office Home and Student to $679 for Microsoft Office Ultimate 2007 ($539 Upgrade).

Microsoft has decided to take it a bit easy on college students with "The Ultimate Steal" promotion. Although many college universities offer steeply discounted versions of Microsoft software, this new promotion is direct from Microsoft to students.

College students with a valid university ".edu" email address, are enrolled in at 0.5 hours of coursework and can provide documentation of enrollment can purchase Office Ultimate 2007 for a mere $59.95.

Students can download the software direct from Microsoft or have a DVD shipped out for a fee.

"We’re listening to students who have told us they need Microsoft Office for their studies and want more flexible ways to get the latest version," said Microsoft General Manager of Worldwide Education Alan Yates. We’re committed to providing accessible and affordable technology to students so they can meet their academic goals. The Ultimate Steal is the latest in a long history of providing compelling academic offers for students."

"Students" who cannot provide documentation that proves they are enrolled at a "higher education" institution will be liable for the full $679 cost of the software.

Microsoft Office Ultimate 2007 includes Microsoft Office Word 2007, Microsoft Office Excel 2007, Microsoft Office PowerPoint 2007, Microsoft Office Outlook 2007 with Business Contact Manager, Microsoft Office Access 2007, Microsoft Office Publisher 2007, Office OneNote 2007, Office Groove 2007 and Microsoft Office InfoPath 2007.

"The Ultimate Steal" promotion is currently available in the United States, Canada and the United Kingdom. The program will be available in France, Italy and Spain beginning September 20. The promotion will end on April 30, 2008.

"It looks like the iPhone 4 might be their Vista, and I'm okay with that." -- Microsoft COO Kevin Turner

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