When does a box and a DVD cost $150? When it’s the retail edition of the Professional edition of Office 2010.
Microsoft has confirmed the pricing for the new edition of its office suite, which is the first to use the product key card system. The idea is that Windows PC makers can be encouraged to include a copy of the software on their new machines in a locked state. Customers can then, rather than buy a boxed copy from a store, purchase a card with an unlock code to access the new version of Office.
This option comes with some decent savings: $349 for the product key card vs $499 for the boxed edition with the full Professional edition, $199 vs $279 for Home and Business (which includes Outlook) and $119 vs $149 for the Home and Student edition which most consumer buyers will opt for.
As you can see, the discounts clearly outweigh the actual cost savings of producing the DVD and box, so this isn’t just a case of Microsoft making it cheaper to be environmentally friendly.
Instead it’s more likely to be an attempt to target PC manufacturers who aren’t willing to pay to include unlocked copies of Office on their machines, but can be persuaded to add the locked copies which then makes it much easier for Microsoft to sell the user on unlocking them.
It’s worth nothing that the savings are only really of benefit if you intend to use Office on a single machine. While the product key card options only unlock the system on one machine, the boxed copies allow installation on two computers, while the Home and Student edition is available in a three-machine family pack.