Microsoft readies free upgrade program for Office buyers

Microsoft readies free upgrade program for Office buyers

Summary: Just like it does with Windows to keep the bottom from dropping out of the market in the months prior to the launch of a new release, Microsoft does the same with Office via its Tech Guarantee program. It looks like that free-upgrade program is about to begin for Office 2010.


Just like it does with Windows to keep the bottom from dropping out of the market in the months prior to the launch of a new release, Microsoft does the same with Office via its Tech Guarantee program. It looks like that free-upgrade program is about to begin for Office 2010.

Ars Technica got a glimpse of a Microsoft partner's blog post about the imminent launch of the Office 2010 Tech Guarantee program -- just before the post was yanked. Here are some of the details (via Ars):

  • The program runs between March 5, 2010 and September 30, 2010
  • Customers who buy a copy of Office 2007 during that period -- with or without a new PC -- from a participating reseller will qualify for the promotion
  • To qualify, customers must activate their copies of Office 2007 by September 30 and request their free upgrade to Office 2010 by October 31
  • Those who are eligible will get a free download of Office 2010 (although discs will e purchasable for a shipping and handling fee)
  • Limit is 25 free-upgrade copies per person

Microsoft is rapidly approaching the finish line with Office 2010 and SharePoint 2010. This week, Microsoft made the near-final Release Candidate (RC) of Office 2010 available to participants in its Technology Adoption Program (TAP). The company is not planning to make the RC more broadly available. Release to manufacturing could happen any time, but it's likely this spring. Microsoft officials have said the final code will be available by June for sure. Microsoft execs said last year to expect SharePoint 2010 to be released alongside Office 2010.

Microsoft already has revealed the planned version line-up for Office 2010 (with seven different SKUs, the prices for most of which the company also has shared), as well as the system requirements for the final Office 2010 product.

Topics: Collaboration, Microsoft, Software


Mary Jo has covered the tech industry for 30 years for a variety of publications and Web sites, and is a frequent guest on radio, TV and podcasts, speaking about all things Microsoft-related. She is the author of Microsoft 2.0: How Microsoft plans to stay relevant in the post-Gates era (John Wiley & Sons, 2008).

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  • Most people HATE Office 2007 ....

    ... why would they want to use Office 2010?

    Seriously, Office 2007 may have a few performance improvements over 2003, but it is a 100 steps backwards in usability.

    Sit somebody who has never used Office 2007 in front of a computer and ask them to do the simple task of printing. Watch then spend over 30 mins trying to figure out where the hell the print option is now. What the hell was MS thinking??
    • Most people LOVE office 2007 ...

      See how easy it is to claim something without citing any facts? Office 2007 sold millions upon millions of copies in the past 3 years, so I guess there are still some people who are capable of using it.

      And the first time I sat down it took me 1 minute to figure out how to print. The file menu was a circle instead. Whoop-de-doo, impossible to figure out. And ctrl-p still works fine too, if you were wondering.
      • It's amazing how well something sells...

        ... when people are of the opinion that they have no choice in what to

        However, sit a person down in front of Office 2007 and Open Office 3
        without any training, and I'm betting that most will be more productive
        with Open Office 3.
        • At home, maybe

          When they're doing something simple - creating a simple word doc, or budget on a spreadsheet.

          But for school or business, I disagree:

          MS office has OneNote and InfoPath - and there's nothing in the open source arsenal that comes close in terms of functionality and polish.

          The more advanced functionality, including a SharePoint backend, allows multiple users to edit documents at the same time. It keeps all versioning, and allows custom metadata to be associated with the document.

          Reporting, smooth and seamless interaction with databases, document approvals, custom workflows - these are all things business need to be productive.

          One office program may have a better alternative, but the combination (including Visio & Project) of all the products, backend, and tight integration allow users to create things far beyond static documents.

          Having that insight into your data is well worth the cost of Office in a business environment.
          • The problem is..

            You have these geeks, like nix_hed, who don't really know what business people do or need.

            To them, they think everything can be done in a word processor and excel. Document Management? Workflows? Who needs that? It's completely foreign to them.

            They also don't get why Open Office or any OSS project isn't taking off, espically at home - Why? Because people will use what they know, and they know Windows/Office from work.

            This whole thing about "It takes 30 minutes to print" is complete BS. Go grab 30 people from 20 to 60 years old and have them use Linux for the first time (AND actually DO stuff). I'll come back in a few hours.
          • User or IT professional?

            As a business user of MS Word, MS Excell and MS PowerPoint, I don't need any of those advanced functions you talk about.

            "Sharepoint backend", "onenote", Infopath"?

            Do you really think a busy executive in any department has time to even find out what those are, let alone learn how to use them?

            When I need to write a letter, I write a letter. When I need to prepare a presentation, I prepare a presentation.

            Get your head of whatever hole it's in, and think about what the millions of normal users need.

            By the way, I use Open Office at home, and have no problems switching between the two, or even sharing files between the two.

            They are both good peices of software that do what I need (and free is nice).
          • Get my head out of whatever hole it's in?

            These "busy executives" don't need to use versioning, approvals, or document sharing. They're too important and don't have time to learn how to follow a process. That's why they have assistants who do all that for them.

            It's not about you working on a single document. If you're on a team, simply spamming each other with different versions of a document, collecting feedback from them, and trying to track and add all the changes isn't feasible. And how do your manage tasks and lists of data?

            And OneNote? Tell a student they don't need it. They can try to organize hundreds of pages of notes from different classes and schools, and embedding rich media into word docs is a blast.

            You're obviously not a candidate for the advanced features of Office - you don't understand what they are and apparently work alone. But your arrogant attitude makes me think that's the least of your problems.
          • I completely agree

            I'm a High school student and I use MS OneNote for organizing notes for research projects and I also use it for managing student governance projects. In MS Word, I use the built in citation tools whenever I need to create a bibliography/works cited. When I have a complex document and I want to make a table of contents, MS Word makes it automatically. Automatic headers and footers make my documents look professional and coherent with a single theme applied to all elements of the work. The built in grammar tools detect contextual errors and improve style, even helping to eliminate passive sentences. When I am making something for Spanish, Word automatically detects the language I am typing in so that I don't have to worry about fumbling about with language settings. In other classes, especially science, SmartArt graphics have been very effective at illustrating processes and adding a bit of creative flair to a PowerPoint. All of these are features that are either not supported by OpenOffice, or need to be added through the use of an Add-In.
          • Think outside your box, for a moment...

            Most people in the world aren't gonna use those advanced options you talk about. Professional secrataries and those who are hired for document controls or workflows, maybe.

            I'll bet the vast majority of users at home and at work use maybe 20% of the functions built into Windoze Office.

            OneNote? I have an old copy of OneNote 2003 and I seldom use it. For people who get off on that sort of thing, great. For the rest who don't use it, who cares...
      • Disagree with LOVE 2007

        If all you know is Office 2007-- then you might love it, and you're bound to love Office 2010.

        I am not passing judgment on the "improved quality" of various versions of Office suite.

        Corporations and small businesses rarely spend money to teach effective use of Office suites (therein lies the problem). So... if your starting point was Office 2003, you will most likely be initially frustrated with the ribbon-UI of 2007. My experience supporting users in a large corporate environment bears this out perfectly.

        Here's to hoping corporations and businesses will pony up MORE money to train and develop their worker's skills!
        • Right 2003 vs 2007

          Yes exactly
      • Hated it!

        I got a new computer in '07 and hated office 2007 from the start and with passion - demanded that it be removed and replaced by office 2003. Now I'm looking at getting another new computer, but WTF!? This incredibly large and space wasting ribbon concept full of crappy and very redundant buttons has not died yet??? I'm not a friggin' moron who needs help making my documents and spread sheets look pretty!

        -- I want every damn toolbar up there at once so I can do anything I want with one click.

        One click dammit, that's all I have time for!

        I noticed that they didn't f-up outlook in 2007 with an idiot-ribbon, my question is did they do it in office 2010?

        Oh, I hate that f-ing ribbon!
    • Couldn't Agree More

      To say it is unexpected that people would not initially like the idea of change would be facetious at best.

      Yes, we all get that many people wanted their Office 2007 to look like the Offices before them. Yet, the fact is that people learned how to use the new interface, and were not forced into using it, as there is a 2007 compatibility pack.

      2007 just makes things more logical. And as crazydanr said, all of shortcut functions still work.

      It's now a chore to go back to the old menu way of doing things in 2003 and prior, whereas with 2007, I can customize things my way and it's a lot faster.
    • In MS Office 2010

      In 2010 beta version the file menu is now another option on the "ribbon" called surprisingly, file.

      I guess they fixed the only problem in office 2007. (kidding)

      But seriously MS did a great job coming up with the ribbon style menu very intuitive In my opinion
      • That was probably the biggest problem

        I remember when I first went to use it, the lack of an actual file menu option was odd to me. But since I was already using Vista, it was easy to recognize that the Orb had to be pressed.

        Thinking about it, it just may not have been that easy for some to realize that, hence the frustration.

        But, with the internet these days, it's rather easy to find out how to do the basics.
        • Office Button

          I always thought it was pretty obvious that I had to press the button, seeing as it glowed and blinked and said, "press me!". Then if you hover on it, it gives you a description of what it does, with a picture.
        • Agreed, but...

          "[i]Thinking about it, it just may not have been that easy for some to realise that, hence the frustration.
          But, with the internet these days, it's rather easy to find out how to do the basics.[/i]"

          Why didn't the "Ribbon" have a "Print" tab on it?
          I thought that the whole point, was that commonly used functions appeared on the "Ribbon".
          Doesn't anyone in MS print documents any more?
          Why should people have to surf the Internet, to find out how to use a word processor (considering that they didn't need to with Office 2003)?

          Mine doesn't glow and say "Press Me", unless you hover over it (a pop-up appears). When I first saw it, I thought that it was just a stupid logo.

    • You give

      actual users little credit. My university has been running Office 07 for a few years now without a hitch.

      Pretty neat huh?
      The one and only, Cylon Centurion
      • No, Nicholas

        What's so "pretty neat" about using a standard office product.
    • office 2007

      sincerely I liked office 2007 even if you have to search the printing option.