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

Office 2010

Posted on 17 Feb 2010 at 09:00

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

UPDATE: MICROSOFT COCK-UP ADDS £30 TO OFFICE 2010 PRICE

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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User comments

Rip off Britain

Can someone remind me what year it was when I heard a politician on TV say they wanted to end "Rip Off Britain"?

By DaChimp on 17 Feb 2010

Please update the excuses

Does Chris Adams really expect us to buy the same old tired excuses for excessive UK pricing?

Localisation? What localisation? The labels in my software still say 'color'.

Varying production costs? In that case, the cost differential would be flat across the product range as it costs the same to produce a DVD with Home and Student as it does for Professional.

So, the £60 premium can only be attributed to exchange rates and whilst it is reasonable to set a flat fee for exchange as it is impractical to keep changing product prices in line with fluctuating exchange rates - £60? It was no different when it was $2 to the pound either.

Just be honest Microsoft and tell us you are ripping us off.

By Fraz_pro on 17 Feb 2010

Meh home and business is still cheaper than Office 2007 standard currently is. Its also less of a rip-off than what adobe charges UK customers.

While I kind of see the problem I'm not overly bothered by it as its always happened and therefore I am not surprised when it happens again.

I know for a fact I'll be buying it especially after retailers get their hands on it and knock the prices down.

By jonners99 on 17 Feb 2010

once again, are the UK prices inclusive of VAT as I know the American prices do not have tax and shipping added

By TimoGunt on 17 Feb 2010

reply

So once again this will become one of the most pirated versions of software of all time. I mean the pricing isn't exactly fair to the end user, and once again we in the UK have to suffer from inflated pricing.

The new activation scheme will do nothing to stop the pirates. They should lower the prices because then more people would probably actually pay for the software.

By 00lissauers on 17 Feb 2010

Local US sales taxes

Local US sales tax rates vary but are all under 10%, much less than our VAT at 17.5%. So that doesn't explain all the variation.

By Kuryakin on 17 Feb 2010

@Fraz_pro

variantions:
Market size & salaries: the UK is a smaller market and it has to be staffed with support personnel. That means higher overhead per user. Also, because of the number of potential users, the localisation costs will go up, because those costs can't be spread over so many copies - although the costs are less than for other countries, as the majority of the language is the same, Germany is much more expensive than the UK for software, in general. I think we pay 40% more than the UK for Adobe products, for example.

Shipping costs: Fuel costs a lot more in the UK than America, so it costs more to deliver the goods to the warehouses.

Import duty: The package is put together abroad, probably in the far east. MS have to pay import duty on each unit, that is added to their costs and passed onto the customer. If the product is produced and packaged in the UK, salaries will be higher, because the cost of living is higher...

Due to the variation in price, I would assume that it is produced and packaged abroad, the higher end package has a higher wholesale price, so will have a higher import duty...

If they could print the cards locally, at a reasonable price, for the card-only versions, they should be able to reduce the variable costs significantly.

We've been using the card-only licences for Office 2007 for a few months and it saves a fair few pennies with each machine - you also don't get Office 2003 downgrade rights with the card, so watch out!

They also calculate in an "overhead" to take into account currency fluctuation, so that they don't have to adjust the price on a daily basis. That said, the Dollar is hopefully at rock bottom, so they shouldn't need that much of a safety net...

By big_D on 17 Feb 2010

I'm sorry but there is absolutely no localisation on any Microsoft product. They produce English but only "American", which is nothing more than a dialect - one intent on destroying the letter T.

As for import costs - possibly, but then they ship worldwide. An alternative of course would be to provide an ISO download location - no shipping costs whatsoever except for bandwidth. Produce an ISO of the disk media and you're away.

I don't mind paying for Office software. I do object to them saying it's because of language changes when there are none, and bugs they are not interested in fixing, such as changing a style changing the dictionary used.

By bubbles16 on 17 Feb 2010

Free version

No mention here of the free version, which has been previously stated here to contain Word and Excel, and to have an ad box on the left hand side. Is this version still going to be appearing or has it been dropped?

By davidbryant4 on 17 Feb 2010

Free version

No mention here of the free version, which has been previously stated here to contain Word and Excel, and to have an ad box on the left hand side. Is this version still going to be appearing or has it been dropped?

By davidbryant4 on 17 Feb 2010

Open Office anyone ?

If everyone started using Open Office then i think M$ might start getting the point.

By Jaberwocky on 17 Feb 2010

Microsoft's funny money

No doubt MS will announce sales figures of Office 2010 as being equal to the sales of PCs, and then make a reverse calculation by adding up all the sales of product keys, deducting this number from the total number of PCs sold and then calling the difference "piracy". Multiplying this huge number by another huge number (the price!) they will use this to leverage governments to pass legislation that solidifies the Windows franchise even further.

The sad thing is, politicians seem to be putty in their hands...

By SwissMac on 17 Feb 2010

@bubbles16

There is localisation. My German versions of Office 2007 and 2010 allow me to pick US English or UK English (among others) and it does correct the spelling differently, rejecting color, for example.

By big_D on 17 Feb 2010

@bubbles16

Sorry, hit submit too soon.

I agree, the excuses given a pretty untenable, but they are still better than a lot of other software and hardware manufacturers and they do do localisation.

The ISO would still need to be produced locally, which would probably cost MS more than having it packaged in the far east and flown to the UK. :-(

The Revenue would still find some sort of loophole to charge more tax on it...

By big_D on 17 Feb 2010

A hidden Agenda?

I guess that they do not really want anyone in the UK to buy Office 2010. Or perhaps there is a socialist agenda here, work for the government and get a bargain, NHS and I am sure others can buy the existing office version at a 'slightly improved' price.

By Jonesr18 on 18 Feb 2010

Localisation - A Joke

As has already pointed out the software is patchy when showing 'localisation' (another US word?).

MS must surely have finished developing dictionaries, thesaurus', UK grammar etc and the programming required to implement them properly.

How many times do we have to pay extra for the same thing!

Am I alone in thinking this is complete hogwash (US?).

By 1954Stormy on 18 Feb 2010

Localisation? Really?

Localisation - they told us this as an excuse when Vista was released, so why does the software think that I'm on the east coast of the US until I tell it otherwise?
As for importation costs another contributer mentioned - MS software for the UK is usually produced in Ireland and has been since at least Windows 95 - I remember seeing a news clip of 3.5in floppies being produced, 18 or 20 in the box I recall.

By narrowgauge on 18 Feb 2010

$ for £

Unfortunately every company selling all goods common to USA and GB have been using $1=£1 for years! I have even been on holiday to the USA to buy USA priced goods made in the UK, EU or Japan to get them cheaper! I saved enough on Canon camera gear once to pay for the hoiday!!
I think that many brits have just woken up to this fact. Remember cheaper cars from EU, grey imports are frowned upon by all manufacuring companies. In fact Canon even stopped one company from selling their stuff at all if they continued offering American priced cameras on their site. It seems the whole world see's the UK consumer is a soft customer!!

By sladey on 18 Feb 2010

If it costs too much, dont buy it!
If you do want it, get the one you need; most people only use Word, Excel and Outlook!
I doubt that many businesses will be moving to it any time soon; the business recession is likely to last for another 2.5 years!
Will there be Office 2012, free for Olympians?
I know that some businesses have just recently moved to Office 2007, as they used 2003 before that. They cannot afford the loss in time to familiarise themselves with more changes in software.

By skgiven on 18 Feb 2010

Localisation

The work of localisation was done for Word 95 so there need have been no further work done or costs for all later versions. They, even in Word 2003, still use American grammar corrections when you are using UK English. I only use MS products because I am forced to by compatibility issues with other people. When I can read MS Word in Open Office I will be happy but MS changes formats to prevent this happening even to the extent of pushing through an ISO standard OOXML which no one not even MS actually implements fully.

By misceng on 18 Feb 2010

Price fixing

Cartel, Price fixing. Its been going on in IT for years and not even Europe have challenged it, it seems they are too busy faffing around forcing Microsoft to include the Browser Ballot.

Adobe top the scales for me who wont even let me buy a US localised version at US prices without violating the licence agreement.

In a previous job working for a major Education reseller we even got into trouble with manufacturers for bringing Smartboards and Projectors in from either Germany, Poland or the US.

The simple answer is as above. Go to the US for a holiday and bring a spare suitcase with you!

By Gindylow on 18 Feb 2010

When will we learn?

Are we in the UK going to accept this abuse of "rip off Britain" by the likes of Microsoft and other software suppliers for ever? When will we ever learn? Perhaps its time to change to Open Office and other open source applications on mass.

By scopio on 18 Feb 2010

TonyC

Or if your use is within elligibility criteria just look at e.g. pugh.co.uk for student-only packaging of the full product.
"Microsoft School Student Select is the cost effective way of buying Microsoft Software for school pupils and staff for use on a single computer."
Current best offer is Office 2007 Enterprise edition at £34.31.
Perfectly legal for my daughters' PCs.

By TonyC on 18 Feb 2010

Rip off Microsoft

That is why I use Open Office, readers of my letters can't tell the difference but my bank account can

By CaptStan on 18 Feb 2010

Some charities and NHS staff can expect it cheaper

Wait a month or two after release adn go check out the prices on the NHS Resource Centre at Microsoft. This area covers quite a large number of registered charities as well. So this is a possible workaround for some.

By MDBeck on 18 Feb 2010

I switched to Open Office too.

I have to say that I, like others here, have also made the switch to Open Office.

No, it's not quite as slick as the newer MS Office suites in some areas, but for 95%+ of tasks it's every bit as good.

The money charged for MS Office - and specifically this ludicrous 'UK Tax' I actually find personally insulting.

I'm not knocking MS alone - because as others have said, Adobe are also thoroughly obnoxious in this respect - but I reached the point a couple of years back where I simply refuse to play along any more.

I still buy their OS's as I think they are the best available, but the Office suite? I just don't see the value, not at current pricing...

By Mr_John_T on 18 Feb 2010

Office 2010 - A LEAP BACKWARDS

Oh well once the beta ends its back to Home Office 2003, because that version has got OUTLOOK. DUH.

By roberttrebor on 18 Feb 2010

We need a viable alternative

I am still using office 2000 including access, which does everything I need of it. Unfortunately I believe this may not work under windows 7, so when eventually I have to buy a new pc, I will have to move to open office. I hope by then the oo database wizard is improved as it is the one thing preventing me from switching now, that and a single replacement for outlook.
I would be getting nothing for my money if I upgraded except for compatibilty with windows 7, what a con.
If it was £40 for the full version I might consider it but until microsoft have true competition for access and outlook they will fleece us.
As to the exchange rate, let us buy the software in dollars and let are credit card companies sort out the exchange rate.

By pcpro1001 on 19 Feb 2010

We need a viable alternative

I am still using office 2000 including access, which does everything I need of it. Unfortunately I believe this may not work under windows 7, so when eventually I have to buy a new pc, I will have to move to open office. I hope by then the oo database wizard is improved as it is the one thing preventing me from switching now, that and a single replacement for outlook.
I would be getting nothing for my money if I upgraded except for compatibilty with windows 7, what a con.
If it was £40 for the full version I might consider it but until microsoft have true competition for access and outlook they will fleece us.
As to the exchange rate, let us buy the software in dollars and let are credit card companies sort out the exchange rate.

By pcpro1001 on 19 Feb 2010

Open Office

Try Open Office, for many people who use MS Office it is like using a sledge hammer to crack a nut.

By neilrqn on 19 Feb 2010

Open Office

Try Open Office, for many people who use MS Office it is like using a sledge hammer to crack a nut.

By neilrqn on 19 Feb 2010

UK/US price comparison IRRELEVANT

I'm sorry folks, you are ALL MISSING THE POINT in expecting to be able to compare one price in one part of the world with another, or for that matter, to expect Microsoft to be able to "justify" it. Because clearly they can't, but then, neither does it matter.

Microsoft have spent a lot of money to create a product which they hope will make them a lot MORE money. They will price it, in each country, in accordance with carefully calculated pricing models, to maximise (do I mean Maximize?) their profit, It's how capitalism works.

Do they care that you might be somehow offended about the dollar price being lower? Do they, FCUK! Well, only up to the point that they start to drive enough of the market away. Microsoft, in case you hadn't noticed, is neither a charity nor government-run organisation. It is run for the benefit of the shareholders alone, and there's nothing wrong with that. Oh sure, if they have enough profits, they might make some notable charitable donations, but that is NOT what drives the business.

Stop wasting your breath whining about it - if you think it's too expensive just don't buy Office2010. Go write a cheaper, better one yourself.

By LaurenceWilkins on 19 Feb 2010

Great product

Most everyone knows that Word is a stable and excellent product.
I also appreciate the Microsoft Office Picture Manager that comes with this edition. And I got a downloadable copy for only $87.99, in softwarespeedy.com.

By loreto on 17 Jul 2013

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