Office 2010 prices: the good, the bad and the costly

Find out how much Microsoft Office 2010 is going to cost British buyers here

17 Feb 2010

Microsoft has announced UK pricing for Office 2010 and once again there's bad news for British customers.


Buyers of Office Home and Business are being asked to pay £240 (all UK prices include VAT) for the full boxed version of the software, over £60 more than the US price of £178 ($280) on a straight dollar conversion. Office Professional, which includes every app in the Office portfolio, will cost £430* in Britain, but only £318 ($500) in the US.

"There are a number of different things that play a role [in British Office pricing]," explained Microsoft's Office product manager, Chris Adams, when PC Pro asked him to explain the discrepancies. "There's not one specific thing that leads to differences between us and the US," he said, citing factors such as foreign exchange rates, the cost of localisation and varying production costs from country-to-country.

There's not one specific thing that leads to differences between us and the US

The good news is that the price differences aren't too steep on the entry-level suite, Office Home and Student, which includes Word, Excel, PowerPoint and OneNote. The price of the full boxed version in the UK is £110, compared to a US price of £95 ($120).

All prices are only Microsoft's suggested figures, and retailers will undoubtedly sell the software at below ticket price.

Product Key Cards

Microsoft is introducing a new Product Key Card scheme with Office 2010. This will see trial versions of the Office software pre-installed on new PCs, which users will be able to unlock with a code purchased from retailers or Microsoft itself.

There is, however, a catch with this new system. Although the Key Card codes are cheaper, they only include one licence rather than the three that come with the boxed versions of the software.

That means buyers will pay £90 to unlock Office Home and Student on a single PC, but only £20 more to get a licence for three PCs and, of course, the full back-up disc media that comes inside the box.

Adams says that Microsoft hopes retailers will make this distinction clear to buyers when they purchase a new PC, although as PC Pro's own investigations have shown, High Street retailers aren't exactly renowned for their technical competence.

Retailers will be able to set their own prices for the physical key cards, but at launch only Microsoft will be able to deliver Office unlock codes over the internet. Adams confirmed that Microsoft will be charging full retail prices for these codes.

The Office 2010 price list

Office Home and Student 2010 - £110 (£90 for Product Key Card)

Word, Excel, PowerPoint, OneNote, Web Apps

Office Home and Business 2010 - £240 (£190)

Word, Excel, PowerPoint, OneNote, Outlook, Office Web Apps

Office Professional 2010 - £430* (£300)

Word, Excel, PowerPoint, OneNote, Outlook, Publisher, Access, Office Web Apps, premium technical support

(Revised price, was originally stated as £400)

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