Print 25 comment(s) - last by CENGJINYIWEI.. on Jan 31 at 8:09 AM

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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Seems a Bit Much
By wjordan on 1/6/2010 12:14:24 PM , Rating: 1
I'm surprised that Microsoft is still charging so steeply for their Office suite. Recently a large % of my work has been in converting Office installations to Open Office and many other clients have gone completely with Google Docs (my preference as well).

With so many companies needing to trim costs it doesn't make a lot of sense to continue paying Microsoft licensing fees when the open-source/free community has so much to offer. The only situation I've seen where it still applies is in Accounting departments that have a heavy reliance on Excel and have written some Michaelangelo quality spreadsheets. Outside of that the majority of clients I see don't take advantage of all the features available in the MS Office suite and switching to Open Office is virtually painless in all cases.

Personally, I feel that if Google can upgrade their spreadsheet so that it rivals Excel and Open Office, they can easily take over this market. They did things right by introducing people first to Gmail, then Docs - and the world slowly learned to use easy document sharing and real-time collaboration. Now with Google Wave coming online I think that it's going to be a slam dunk for Google in the coming years as people begin embracing that technology.

If you're reading this article and are seriously considering put out your hard-earned dollars for a copy of Microsoft Office, do yourself a favor and consider the alternatives first. Open Office is free and does essentially the same thing, plus it's compatible with all MS Office document types and can be easily configured to save all it's documents using the MS Office extensions.

RE: Seems a Bit Much
By HrilL on 1/6/2010 12:25:24 PM , Rating: 2
There is some slight compatibility issues with .docx files when writing(can't write to them) Maybe this has been fixed but for for the most part it works and if the older formats is works just as good.

RE: Seems a Bit Much
By FlyTexas on 1/6/2010 12:48:36 PM , Rating: 2
I've used OpenOffice... I currently use Office 2007. There really is no comparison, Office 2007 is easier to use, more powerful, and compatable with everything.

Yes, Office 2007 costs money, OpenOffice does not, however if you use it often and/or have business reasons for doing so, the cost is really minor (less than $100 for most people buying the Home edition).

Now, I have tried Google Docs a bit, but not enough to comment on it. It isn't Office, but it does work in a pinch. I can see how that is the future, and I think Microsoft knows it, they'll have that option soon enough.

Of course, I use Gmail, so I do like Google, but I'm not ready to give up Office just yet.

RE: Seems a Bit Much
By stromgald30 on 1/6/2010 12:55:50 PM , Rating: 3
It really depends on how you use Office. At most large companies, MS Office has features that are essential. I've tried OpenOffice in 2009 after years of using MS Office, and unless you're a novice or need only the most basic tools, there is no comparison to MS Office.

Similarly with GoogleDocs. It's feature set is probably less than 20% of that of MS Office. Again, it really depends on what you're using the software for, but most mid to large companies would suffer if they switched to either OpenOffice or GoogleDocs.

I'm not bashing Google or Sun for their office suites and would gladly welcome competition for MS Office, but right now, IMHO MS Office has no real competition for those who can leverage many of its features.

RE: Seems a Bit Much
By JediJeb on 1/6/2010 3:48:38 PM , Rating: 3
I don't do web publishing or graphic design so OpenOffice works great for me. I really haven't found anything I can't do in it that I would do in MS Office. The only reason we upgraded at work to Office07 was because some clients didn't know how to save as to an Office2k format and we couldn't read the .docx files they were sending us.

I haven't seen any advantage in Office07 yet, but then everything I need to do I can do in less than ten keyboard shortcuts. I also hate how it takes longer to load up now than the older versions. It also helped once I figured out how to minimize the ribbon, since most functions I need are on my quick access bar and I almost never use the ribbon for anything. For me it just takes up space I could be using to view my document. Other than those things I really can't tell a difference between any of the versions of Office, so a new one isn't very exciting.

RE: Seems a Bit Much
By damianrobertjones on 1/6/2010 4:28:47 PM , Rating: 3
Personally, some of Googles older EULA's should scare people away from Google Docs

"I'm an Internet expert too. It's all right to wire the industrial zone only, but there are many problems if other regions of the North are wired." -- North Korean Supreme Commander Kim Jong-il
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