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Microsoft undercuts planned Office 2010 retail price

Click/install beats shop/unwrap

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Updated Activating a pre-installed copy of Office 2010 on a new PC will save you almost a third off the price of buying an off-the-shelf copy of the planned suite.

On Tuesday, Microsoft announced pricing for a set of planned key cards, announced in October, that will be between 20 per cent and 30 per cent cheaper than the company's recommended retail price for version of Office 2010.

The key cards, which Microsoft has said before it plans to sell through "major electronic retail outlets", will activate copies of Office Home and Student 2010, Office Home and Business, and Office Professional that Microsoft's promised will come pre-installed on OEMs' PCs.

The Office Home and Student key card is priced $199 versus $149 for the packaged product. The Office Home and Business is card is priced $199 versus $279. And the Office Professional card is $349 compared to $499.

Microsoft plans the key cards to make it easier for customers to get and install the latest version of Microsoft's ubiquitous productivity suite. Also planned is Click-to-Run, which Microsoft said would let customers download Office 2010 to customers' existing PCs.

Office Professional Plus and Office Standard, announced in July 2009 with the other SKUs, will be sold to businesses using Microsoft's volume licensing the company told The Reg, so won't get retail pricing or key card activation.

Announcing the Office 2010 prices Microsoft introduced the previously unannounced Office 2010 SKU Office Professional Academic, which is not for use in business, government or by non-profits. It is priced at $99 and won't be available pre-installed on machines, so there was no key-card price.

Also outlined Tuesday were packaging details of the five Office 2010 products. All except Office Home and Student get Outlook, while Office Professional and Office Professional Academic will get Publisher and Access 2010. All versions get Word, Excel, PowerPoint, and OneNote.

The final member of the family, Office Starter announced in October, will feature versions of Word and Excel with the basic functionality to create, view and edit documents. This is due as a free product only available on new PCs and paid for through advertising, the company said last year.®

This article has been updated to include details about availability of Office Professional Plus, Standard and Starter.

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