Microsoft's launch of Office 2010 and SharePoint 2010 is on May 12, with the main event happening in New York City. Starting that day, business users will be able to get their hands on Microsoft's latest version of its Office client and server products. (Consumers who want Office and/or Office Web Apps still will have to wait until June.)
My ZDNet colleague Ed Bott has posted a list of great suggestions for individuals interested in getting Office 2010 as cheaply as (legally) possible. But what if you're a business user covered by a volume licensing contract? What can you expect, price-wise, with Office 2010?
The researchers over at Directions on Microsoft have done quite a bit of price analysis on this front. They've found that volume licensees should expect to pay the same or higher for Office 2010 than they did for Office 2007. In the cases where the price is higher, Microsoft has added more features, Directions on Microsoft noted.
Directions analyzed Microsoft's latest Office 2010 price sheet for changes. Here's their summary
Office 2010 Professional Plus goes up 4% Office 2010 Standard stays the same
Project 2010 and Project 2010 Pro each go up 10% Project Server 2010 goes up 10% Project Server Client Access License (CAL) remains the same
SharePoint Server 2010 Enterprise CAL goes up 10%; Standard CAL remains the same SharePoint Server 2010 Server license goes up 10% SharePoint Server for Internet Sites Enterprise remains the same Enterprise CAL Suite goes up 2.5%
I asked Microsoft whether the company was holding pricing steady and/or increasing it for its volume license customers and a spokesperson said: "We do not discuss pricing for our enterprise solutions because of the flexibility built into our Volume Licensing (VL) model."
Remember, though: Customers who buy through Microsoft's Open and Select license plans don't typically have a lot of negotiating power. If you're under 750 seats, you probably have even less bargaining power. Plus, if you do manage to negotiate a 5 percent or ten percent discount after the price rises that much, you're still paying the same as last year -- or more, if you also managed to negotiate a comparable discount last year.
"We've found that Microsoft generally appears to be holding the line on Office price -- maybe due to the competition from people like Google Apps, maybe the economy, maybe both. I think everyone would agree that this isn't a good time to be raising prices," said Directions on Microsoft analyst Paul DeGroot.
"So while the price of the Pro Plus suite has gone up, more components have been added and it represents the same discount -- 65% -- from (total of all of the individual components) that Office 2007 Pro Plus does. The deal with Office Standard is actually substantially improved -- more components, same price."
In addition, according to Directions on Microsoft, Microsoft has actually dropped prices on most of the individual components in its Office 2010 suite (Word, Excel, PowerPoint, OneNote, etc.).
Stay tuned for more Office 2010 posts from me this week. I'll also be covering the New York City launch on Wednesday in person. In the interim, let me know if you have any lingering questions about Office 2010/SharePoint 2010 and I'll do my best to get them answered...