Tuesday, June 15, 2010

Microsoft Office 2010 Hits Stores Worldwide

After years of development and beta testing, Microsoft Office 2010 is now available for purchase by consumers worldwide.

Microsoft Office 2010 hits stores today with three versions: Home and Student, Home and Business, and Professional.

In stores, the versions will cost $149.99, $279.99, or $499.99 respectively, but by downloading the software and just purchasing a Key Card, the price drops to $119.99, $199.99, and $349.99 respectively.

The newest version of Microsoft’s productivity software provides some major additions and upgrades to the 2007 version, including Outlook Social Connector and new multimedia editing tools.

The biggest addition is Office Web Apps, a slim but very functional version of its desktop counterpart that allows for live document collaboration, online storage, and integration with Hotmail and other Microsoft products.

The release of Office 2010 comes one month after Microsoft Office 2010’s upgrade release and two months after it was released to manufacturing.

Microsoft has revealed the four editions of Office 2010 that it will be selling at retail, along with their prices. It’s also trying something new by offering what it calls Product Key Cards.

While you can still buy them at retail, they don’t actually contain the software; rather, they contain keys to unlock installations of Office 2010 that are pre-loaded on some new computers.

The keys are cheaper than the full retail boxes, but there aren’t many people who will be thrilled with any plan that involves pre-loading software that they can’t use without spending more money.

The other notable thing about 2010 is the inclusion of Office Web Apps, a cloud version of Office.

Here’s a list of the four retail editions of Office 2010, which applications they will include, and how much they will cost.

Office Professional Academic

Priced at $99, this edition includes Word, Excel, PowerPoint, OneNote, Outlook, Publisher, Access and Office Web Apps.

It’s basically a cheaper version of the business-aimed Professional edition, but it’s reserved for “qualified students and educators.” It will be sold through campus bookstores and retailers.

Office Home and Student

This one will set you back $149 for the boxed version and $119 for the Product Key Card. It includes Word, Excel, PowerPoint, OneNote and Office Web Apps.

It will be the most basic retail edition, separated from its peers primarily by its lack of the Outlook e-mail application.

It will also be available in a Family Pack that will include licenses for three computers in your home, but Microsoft hasn’t officially announced the pack’s price.

Office Home and Business

The price: $279 for the box, $199 for the Product Key Card. For that, you’ll get Word, Excel, PowerPoint, OneNote, Outlook and Office Web Apps.

Yep, compare it to Office Home and Student and you’ll find that Outlook alone will cost you either $130 or $80 depending on whether you buy the disc or the key.

Office Professional

At $499 boxed or $349 for a key, Office Professional will give you Word, Excel, PowerPoint, OneNote, Outlook, Publisher, Access and Office Web Apps — the same as the much-cheaper Office Professional Academic version.

This is the full suite for small businesses; apps like Access aren’t necessary for most home users.

Other SKUs

Microsoft hasn’t announced pricing for its non-retail editions, which include the two enterprise SKUs for big businesses. Office Professional Plus will add SharePoint Workspace to the mix.

Office Standard will also be an enterprise option, and it will include Word, Excel, PowerPoint, OneNote, Outlook and Publisher. Finally, there will be Office Starter edition. It will cost nothing, but it will be supported by in-app ads. Limited versions of Word and Excel are all you’ll get out with that one.


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