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Microsoft slashes Visual Studio prices for 2010 sign-ups

One-package Office development

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Microsoft is today expected to unveil deep discounts along with features for Visual Studio 2010 to encourage uptake and ease the headache of rolling out applications for different flavors of Office.

The company will reveal tools it said would let you deploy applications to different versions of Office running on 32- and 64-bit platforms using a single package.

The "simplicity" message comes comes as Microsoft is expected to start a pre-Visual Studio 2010 recruitment campaign predicated on deep price discounts. Microsoft will use its TechEd Europe show to unveil the discounts to get people off rival IDEs and onto Visual Studio ahead of the 2010 launch.

On offer is a 33 per cent discount on the upgrade to Visual Studio Standard Edition - now priced $199 - and 45 per cent off Visual Studio Professional Edition, now priced $549. This appears to be an open ended offer, with no cut-off date, and it applies to non-volume license customers.

Those already on Microsoft and paying a license fee will be encouraged to get an MSDN subscription with a 30 per cent discount. Subscription will entitle you to Visual Studio 2010 when it ships. Customers on old versions of Visual Studio Team System will also get a 30 per cent discount when they purchase a step-up license for Visual Studio Team System 2008 Team Suite. These latter two offers run from December 1 to June 30, 2009.

In a down economy, it seems Microsoft doesn’t want to start feeling the pinch against free or low-cost competitors. Matt Carter, Visual Studio group product manager, called out Eclipse as one rival alternative.

Eclipse comes in a range of flavors and prices but invariably start at free or low-price. There-on-in, the more you pay depends on the level of integration and polish you get. Carter said Microsoft is letting people into the Visual Studio family “at aggressive price point.”

Price, therefore, is just the sweetener. Microsoft will use TechEd to highlight features in Visual Studio 2010 intended to make the job of coding for Windows and Office simpler.

Among these is the single-package for deployment of Office applications. This will potentially mean you, the builder, can code your Office application for different interfaces, macros, frameworks, and chipsets without needing to cater to such details.

At least, that's the idea. At this stage, Microsoft could not say how many different versions of Office single-package deployment will support. The company was also unable to say whether applications will unpack themselves by sensing the version of Office and the platform's hardware specifics, or whether the user will have to click through a series of prompts.

Also coming are a set of integrated designers for SharePpoint that will avoid the need to leave your build and go looking in either Visual Studio or SharePoint for what you need.

Microsoft also plans on up updating the C++ tools to work with Windows 7, .NET 4, and new foundation class libraries for actions like touch-based input. Among the other Visual Studio 2010 feature will be an editor completely rebuilt on Windows Presentation Foundation (WPF), which will show things like the relationships between different pieces of code. ®

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