Microsoft rethinks, reveals prices for its Office 2010 SKU line-up

Summary:Microsoft is adding one new version to its line-up for Office 2010, a "Professional Academic" SKU that includes Outlook, as rumored late last year. The company also is sharing its planned retail pricing for the suite.

Microsoft is adding one new version to its line-up for Office 2010, a "Professional Academic" SKU that includes Outlook, as rumored late last year. The company also is sharing its planned retail pricing for the suite.

Microsoft unveiled on January 5 its latest iteration of its Office 2010 line-up. The now-four retail SKUs include:

A new Office Professional Academic version. It will be sold through retailers and campus bookstores. This SKU is for "qualified students and educators." It will include Word 2010, Excel 2010, PowerPoint 2010, OneNote 2010, Outlook 2010, Publisher 2010, Access 2010, and Office Web Apps (the free, consumer-focused version of Microsoft's Webified version of four of its Office apps). Pricing $99

Office Home and Student. It will include Word 2010, Excel 2010, PowerPoint 2010, OneNote 2010 and Office Web Apps. This version can be run as a Family Pack style, with usage allowed on three PCs in one house. Pricing is $149 (boxed) or $119 (product key card).

Office Home and Business. This version is for small businesses or those who work at home, according to the Softies. It includes Word 2010, Excel 2010, PowerPoint 2010, OneNote 2010, Outlook 2010 and Office Web Apps. It costs $279 (boxed) or $199 if purchased using a Product Key Card.

Office Professional. It comes with Word 2010, Excel 2010, PowerPoint 2010, OneNote 2010, Outlook 2010, PUblisher 2010, Access 2010, Office Web Apps and premium technical support. It will sell for $499 (boxed), or $349 (Product Key Card).

As my blogging colleague Zack Whittaker noted in December, based on some leaked box shots of Office 2010, the addition of Outlook to the new Professional Academic version should be a welcome one for students. The current Office Home and Student wasn't really geared toward university students, Whittaker argued. Whittaker has more info today about how Microsoft plans to "qualify" those who are eligible for the new Academic version.

There are two other Office 2010 SKUs not mentioned in today's line-up that Microsoft officials discussed last summer --  the Professional Plus and Standard SKUs. The SKUs and pricing in today's announcement seem to include only those products available at retail and not those also available to volume licensees, but I've asked Microsoft to be sure that the company is still planning to roll out these other two SKUs.

Update: Yes, the other two SKUs (Pro Plus and Standard) seem to still be on the docket. And there's also "Office Starter 2010 Edition," which is the replacement for Microsoft Works, and an OEM-only SKU, still in the wings, as well.... So I guess that means we're technically at seven SKUs, just one short of the eight that Microsoft offered when it introduced Office 2007.

Update No. 2: As Gregg Keizer at ComputerWorld figured out, Microsoft is not going to be offering Upgrade pricing, as of Office 2010. According to Keizer's calculations, the Product Key Card (which seems to be the replacement to an Upgrade SKU) is somewhat more expensive than Upgrades. Kind of a surprising move, when pressure on Microsoft from its free, Web-based competitors to Office would seem to point to the need for Office price cuts, not increases....

Update No. 3: Even more Upgrade pricing comparisons and other related info from my ZDNet blogging colleague Ed Bott.

Topics: Software, Collaboration, Microsoft

About

Mary Jo Foley has covered the tech industry for 30 years for a variety of publications, including ZDNet, eWeek and Baseline. She is the author of Microsoft 2.0: How Microsoft plans to stay relevant in the post-Gates era (John Wiley & Sons, 2008). She also is the cohost of the "Windows Weekly" podcast on the TWiT network. Got a tip? Se... Full Bio

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