Microsoft releases pricing for retail versions of Office 2010

Microsoft is departing from its standard pricing model for its Office 2010 software product by eliminating upgrade pricing. Instead, packaged versions will be licensed for two or three computers, while discounts will be available if a user unlocks a preinstalled version of Office 2010. There will also be two free versions of Microsoft Office. 

New computers sold in the coming months may have Office 2010 preinstalled. In such cases, users will be able to activate the software by purchasing a product key card. Such cards are less expensive than the packaged product, but can only be activated once. Conversely, the higher priced packaged versions of Office can be installed on one, two, or three computers and include physical media for reinstalling the software.
 
Retail versions of Office 2010 will be available in four primary configurations:
 
Office Home and Student:
  • Pricing: $149 for packaged product, $119 for product key
  • Includes 2010 versions of Word, Excel, PowerPoint, and OneNote
  • Licensing: Packaged version and product key only work on single computer. A Family Pack will allow usage on up to three computers in a household, but pricing has not yet been announced.
 
Office Home and Business:
  • Pricing: $279 for packaged product, $199 for product key
  • Includes 2010 versions of Word, Excel, PowerPoint, OneNote, and Outlook.
  • Licensing: The packaged version can be installed on two computers; the product key only unlocks Office on a single computer.
 
Office Professional:
  • Pricing: $499 for packaged product, $349 for product key
  • Includes 2010 versions of Word, Excel, PowerPoint, OneNote, Outlook, Publisher, and Access
  • Licensing: The packaged version can be installed on two computers; the product key only unlocks Office on a single computer
 
Office Professional Academic:
  • Pricing: $99 for packaged product (available through authorized academic resellers only), no product key version available)
  • Includes 2010 versions of Word, Excel, PowerPoint, OneNote, Outlook, Publisher, and Access
  • Licensing: The packaged version can be installed on two computers; the product key only unlocks Office on a single computer
 
Enterprise users will be able to purchase Office 2010 Professional Plus, which adds SharePoint Workspace, or Office 2010 Standard, which is the Professional version without Access. Pricing has not yet been released for these versions.
 
Conversely, users may opt for a free version of Office 2010:
 
  • Office 2010 Starter is currently in private beta testing, and will offer feature-limited, advertisement-supported versions of Excel and Word. This version will be preinstalled on select new computers, with the option to upgrade to a full version of Office at any time. Documents created in Office Starter will be compatible with all other 2010 versions of Office.
  • Office Web Apps are browser-based versions of Word, Excel, PowerPoint, and OneNote, and are Microsoft's response to Google Docs and Zoho. These, too, will be feature-limited, but will be an ideal opportunity for anyone using Excel 2003 or earlier to test out the ribbon-based user interface that was introduced with Office 2007.
 

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