Microsoft to offer a small-business version of Office 2010, after all

Summary:Microsoft is preparing to launch a new Office 2010 SKU, known as Office Small Business Basics 2010, that will be targeted primarily at users in selected emerging markets.

Microsoft is preparing to launch a new Office 2010 SKU, known as Office Small Business Basics 2010, that will be targeted primarily at users in selected emerging markets.

The Smart-max.de site has a screen shot mentioning the coming suite (and are the ones who alerted me to it). The new Small Business Basics SKU includes Word, Excel, Outlook and OneNote,a ccording to the Smart-max folks.

I asked Microsoft for more details about the Office Small Business Basics SKU (a k a, stock-keeping unit, or, in other words, a specific bundle) and received back a no comment. I'm betting the Softies are planning to use the Microsoft Worldwide Partner Conference as the announcement venue for the new SKU.

When the company unveiled Office 2010's planned pricing and SKU line up earlier this year, company officials stressed that Microsoft's goal was to move toward fewer, simpler SKUs. The three primary Office 2010 SKUs are Home and Student, Home and Business and Professional. (There are also Office 2010 Standard, Professional Plus and Starter SKUs, as well, but they are secondary, in terms of Microsoft's Office 2010 marketing push.)

When I did a Web search for "Office Small Business Basics 2010," I found a few mentions of it -- as well as a few other SKUs -- among folks who were seeking more information on volume-license versions of Office. The "Mondo" edition is likely the one that Microsoft provides to its OEM partners that is a roll-up of all the SKUs (as has been the case with previous versions of Office.) There's also an Office Personal 2010 SKU listed. Microsoft officials were willing to comment on that SKU. From a spokesperson:

"Microsoft Office Personal 2010 is a suite for Japanese consumers only. It includes Word 2010, Excel 2010, and Outlook 2010. It also includes Office IME 2010 (Input Method Editor) to input Japanese characters. Office Personal 2010 is available through retail and from OEMs."

Anyone know more about the Office Small Business Basics 2010 release? I had thought Microsoft had decided against doing an Office 2010 SKU specific to the small-business market, as it has been touting the Office Professional 2010 SKU as the replacement for the Office 2007 Small Business edition.

Topics: Microsoft, Collaboration, SMBs, Software

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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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