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Microsoft reveals pricing for retail boxed, Product Key Card editions

When it comes to Microsoft's software products, it doesn't get much bigger than Windows and Office. On the Windows front, Microsoft had a hugely successful launch of Windows 7 in October of last year. The launch went off without a hitch and the operating system has been well received by consumers and ever-critical members of the press.

The next big software release from Microsoft will be Office 2010. The followup to Office 2007 is roughly six months aways and Microsoft is already revealing the pricing structure for the popular productivity suite.

The Microsoft Office 2010 Engineering blog lists standard (non-upgrade) pricing as follows:

Office Home and Student          $149     $119 (Retail Box/Product Key Card)
Office Home and Business         $279     $199
Office Professional                    $499     $349
Office Professional Academic     $99       N/A

Those that choose to go the "old fashioned" route and purchase a retail boxed copy will have to pay anywhere from $30 to $150 more to get a DVD, paperwork, and a fancy plastic case.

However, there is a huge downside for those that choose to go the "Product Key Card" route (this gives you an activation key which you must use after downloading a copy of Office directly from Microsoft). While retail boxed copies of Home and Student gives you the ability to install Office on three machines (Home and Business, Professional, and Professional Academic allow installs on two machines), the Product Key Card versions can only be installed on one machine.

If you plan on installing Office on more than one machine, the Product Key Card versions quickly lose their pricing advantage.

At this time, Microsoft has not announced upgrade pricing for Office 2010, but expect the details to be revealed closer to launch time. In the mean time, if you're one of the handful of people that haven't already tried the Office 2010 beta, you can grab it here.

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Product Key Card Version
By HrilL on 1/6/2010 12:13:25 PM , Rating: 2
This is exactly like how they currently sell OEM software. You purchase the key and have to download the iso from the OPK program as OEM keys do not work with retail or downloaded trial versions. They will however work to activate pre-installed copies of office that comes with a new computer you buy.

There could have the same limitations as OEM does and that is that you can only install it on one machine and that one machine only. You get a new computer and you need a new copy of office. This works fine for a business as you likely won't be changing what computers office is installed on. By the time it is time to replace the machine a new version of office will be out anyway. It saves about $100-120 compared to going retail and even more compared to volume licensing when once license will run you 600 for office 2007 small business with software assurance. If you get software assurance at the start of a products life you end up paying for it 2 times and get nothing. If you got it at the end you end up paying for office 2007 and 2010 at once. Its no deal at all. It would be cheaper to get OEM office 2008 small business for $227 and office 2010 when it comes out for around the same price if you can live with the limitation of only having that copy of office installed on just one machine and not being able to change it a different machine. Both has its pros and cons I guess but every version of OS or office M$ changes their licensing to rape you even harder then they did the release before that.

Maybe its time to roll out open office and save the 10k or so that it would take to get 40 people office at the OEM price. Volume licensing would be 20k or so for 40 people but you can uninstall and reinstall as much as you want and you don't need a manage 40 different keys. But one excel spreadsheet makes it pretty easy to manage them. The other half of our company is already using open office. Now to convince the higher ups... But I guess the amount of time lost added up for everyone learning open office(not that it is that different) would be about the same as the cost of office in the first place. M$ knows they got us by the balls on this one.

"We shipped it on Saturday. Then on Sunday, we rested." -- Steve Jobs on the iPad launch
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