No Upgrade Pricing For Office 2010

Microsoft recently announced several changes to their upcoming Office 2010 suite, and some businesses and consumers may not like the result. In a major shift, Microsoft will no longer offer discounted upgrade pricing for users with Office 2007 or earlier versions. On the plus side they have simplified the number of Office editions and lowered some prices, and rumors exist of a free upgrade program.

Microsoft Office 2010 will arrive in three primary editions. Home and Student includes Word, Excel, PowerPoint, and OneNote, while Home and Business adds Outlook.  The Professional edition also comes with Publisher and Access.  Microsoft will also be encouraging PC manufacturers to pre-install an Office Starter edition on new PCs that can be upgraded with discounted key cards, available at select retailers. The Home and Business edition is expected to sell for around the upgrade price of Office 2007's Small Business edition, or just over half of the Professional version. For that reason, businesses may want to only purchase the Professional version where necessary.

Microsoft says their decision to eliminate upgrades was based on the lower number of customers purchasing an upgrade, versus those who simply receive the latest version pre-installed on a new PC. Cynics believe that Microsoft is trying to steer businesses towards its Software Assurance licensing program where upgrades and other extras (such as free home user rights) are provided for an annual fee.

In early February, an Internet posting describing a free upgrade was abruptly removed. According to the post, those who purchase Office 2007 between March 5 and September 30 of this year will be able to download, or order a DVD for, the corresponding 2010 version. So far, Microsoft has not confirmed or denied the existence of such a program.

February 2010

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