Microsoft Reveals Office 2010 Pricing

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Never wanting to miss the opportunity to bewilder customers, Microsoft today announced pricing for the forthcoming Office 2010. Key difference: Now you can save money by purchasing a card with a product key code, instead of the full boxed product. But, there's a catch.

And it is significant: The boxed version of Office 2010 Professional licenses two copies, while the card-only option licenses just one. Adding more confusion: The boxed version of Home and Student edition is a family pack that licenses (Here is our visual tour of Office 2010).

Upgrade pricing--which is what most businesses and users care about--was not announced.

The pricing announcement was made by Rachel Bondi, Office 2010 general manager, in a blog post. Here is a Microsoft document that compares the four versions and their pricing.

Here are the versions and pricing:

  • Office Home and Student: $149 (boxed) $119 (product key card)
  • Office Home and Business: $279 (boxed) $199 (product key card)
  • Office Professional: $499 (boxed) $349 (product key card)
  • Office Professional Academic $99 (boxed only)

Office Home and Student includes Word, Excel, PowerPoint, and OneNote. Home and Business adds Outlook. Professional provides Word, Excel, PowerPoint, OneNote, Outlook, Publisher and Access. The Academic edition will only be available through college bookstores and selected resellers.

My take: Why does Microsoft go out of its way to offer people bad deals like the Product Key Card? I am guessing it will be marketed as a way for customers to turn the trial version of Office provided on a new PC into a permanent purchase. If all you ever need is one copy, that's fine. But, if you have both a desktop and laptop machine, then the boxed version is a much better buy, especially in the case of Home and Student edition.

Office 2010 is available for download as a public beta and is expected to be formally released later this year.

David Coursey has been writing about technology products and companies for more than 25 years. He tweets as @techinciter and may be contacted via his Web site.

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