Microsoft has reduced the UK price of its Office Suite for Home and Business, as well as introducing a free Starter version with new PCs
Microsoft has released British pricing information for its forthcoming Office 2010 suite, which is due to begin distribution in June. There will be three versions of the suite available in the UK – Office Home and Student, Office Home and Business and Office Professional.
Office Home and Student, which includes Word, Excel, PowerPoint, OneNote and Office Web Apps, will be sold for £109.99. This is designed for family or student use and is strictly for non-commercial use, according to Microsoft.
Office Home and Business has the same set of applications, with the addition of Outlook, and costs £239.99. The package is intended for small businesses and home workers, and will replace Office 2007 Standard edition, which is currently more expensive at £349.99.
Office Professional includes everything in the previous versions, as well as Microsoft Publisher, the Access database and “premium technical support”. The package costs £399.99 and is being touted as the top-of-the-range version for advanced users.
Microsoft has also said it will offer discounts for users who activate premium software using what Microsoft calls product key card versions. The cards will cost £89.99, £189.99 and £299.99 respectively, representing a saving of up to £100.
There will also be a stripped-down free version of Office 2010 called Starter Edition that will be offered free with new PCs, replacing Microsoft’s current basic package, Microsoft Works.
Microsoft announced US pricing for Office 2010, along with the release date, back in January at the Consumer Electronics Show in Las Vegas. Office Home and Student will retail in the US for $149 (£95) as a boxed product, and for $119 (£75) with a product key card; Office Home and Business will retail for $279 (£177) as a boxed product, and $199 (£126) with a product key card; Office Professional will retail for $499 (£317) as a boxed product, and $349 (£221) with a product key card.
There is also an additional version of Office 2010 available in the US called Office Professional Academic, which will retail for $99 (£63) as a boxed product. This version will not be available for unlocking on a pre-loaded machine.
At Microsoft’s Professional Developers Conference in November 2009, the company arranged a beta debut for Office 2010. eWEEK product reviewer Jason Brooks found that the beta release performed with striking stability and polish. The inclusion of extended web and mobile reach and a number of useful app enhancements might be enough to drive uptake, but Microsoft could struggle under the growing threat of cloud-based applications such as Google Apps.
Earlier this month Microsoft began offering the Release Candidate of Office 2010 to a select group of US testers enrolled in its Technology Adoption Program. A Microsoft spokesperson described the move as “one of Microsoft’s planned milestones in the engineering process”. However, the spokesman said the company had no plans to make the new code set widely available.