Australians will pay slightly more than US residents for the same software when Microsoft's flagship Office 2010 suite launches later this year, the software giant revealed this morning, apart from the boxed retail copy of Office Professional 2010, which will cost more than $300 more locally.
The Home and Student versions of Office 2010 (which include Word, Excel, PowerPoint and OneNote) will sell in Australia for a recommended retail price of AU$209 for boxed copies, the company said in a statement today, with the Product Key Card version — which allows users to unlock versions of Office preloaded on PCs from major brands — going for AU$169.
In comparison, the Home and Student versions in the US will sell for US$149 (AU$160) and US$119 (AU$127) respectively.
The boxed copy of Office Home and Business (which also includes Outlook) will go for a recommended retail price in Australia for AU$379, with the Product Key Card version selling for AU$269, while it will cost US$279 (AU$299) and US$199 (AU$213) in the United States — a mark-up of AU$80 on the boxed copy version.
But the real killer for Australian consumers will be for the boxed copy of Office Professional 2010, which will sell for AU$849 in Australia compared with just US$499 in the US — or AU$535, meaning Australian consumers will be hit with a mark-up of over AU$300 if they buy the software in-store from an outlet like Officeworks.
Office Professional 2010 also includes Microsoft Publisher and Access, tools that are often used by small business customers. The Product Key Card version will go for AU$499 in Australia and US$349 (AU$374) in the US.
Microsoft is not allowing users to purchase cheaper upgrade licences for those who already own copies of Office 2010, saying in January that it was aiming to simplify its line-up. Today, the company's Australian division said in a statement that the pricing for each Office 2010 version was the same as the comparable versions of Office 2007 they superseded, with the exception of Office Home and Business 2010.
"Local and regional pricing for Microsoft products is based on a number of market-specific factors including, but not limited to, our forecast of exchange rates, local taxes, duties, regulatory requirements and operational and support costs," said Tina Flammer, office consumer product manager, Microsoft Australia. "As such, the level of resources required to conduct business varies by market, and pricing reflects this."
"Office 2010 Professional is the same estimated retail price (ERP) as the 2007 Professional SKU was. This is also the case for the Office 2010 Home and Student SKU. Office 2010 Home and Business, which replaces Office 2007 Small Business, is AU$370 less expensive while having a comparable application line-up — the difference being that Publisher in 2007 has been replaced for OneNote in 2010."
The company has also set-up a pre-order program online. Office 2010 will be launched to the general public in Australia in June, with businesses to get the software from 12 May. A Microsoft spokesperson has not yet responded to a request for comment on the price difference between the company's US and Australian product line-ups.