Office 2010: Microsoft to charge PC makers less for preloading more

Office 2010: Microsoft to charge PC makers less for preloading more

Summary: Microsoft is planning to charge PC makers $2 per copy for Office Starter 2010 if they also agree to preload the Bing Bar and Windows Live Essentials, according to information shared with me by a Microsoft reseller. If a PC maker wants Office Starter 2010 only, Microsoft plans on charging $5 per copy.

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Microsoft is planning to charge PC makers $2 per copy for Office Starter 2010 if they also agree to preload the Bing Bar and Windows Live Essentials, according to information shared with me by a Microsoft reseller. If a PC maker wants Office Starter 2010 only, Microsoft plans on charging $5 per copy.

As I've blogged previously, with Office 2010, Microsoft is going to be employing a number of different  distribution strategies in the hopes of attracting more customers. One of those strategies involves offering a stripped-down version of Word and Excel -- a bundle known as Office Starter -- preloaded on new PCs. Microsoft is counting on a number of Office Starter customers deciding to "trade up" and activate a more expensive, more complete Office 2010 version once they try Starter.

Here's what the company is telling PC makers about Office 2010, as explained in a single slide shared with me by the aforementioned reseller:

(Click on the diagram to enlarge.)

A note on some of the acronyms: OPK is OEM Preinstallation Kit -- the tools Microsoft provides OEMs to help them preload multiple copies of a product more quickly and easily on new PCs. H&S is the Home and Student edition; H&B is Home and Business; Pro is Office Professional. OPC is OEM Partner Center.

Microsoft is calling the $2 per copy OEM version "PC Essentials." As described in the fine print, in order to get that lower preload price, OEMs must preload not just Office Starter, but also Windows Live Essentials (Mail, Messenger, Photo Gallery, etc.), the Bing Bar and set the PC browser defaults to Bing and the MSN Home Page.

I asked Microsoft for comment on this pricing plan and was told, via a spokesperson: "We do not discuss the specifics of our arrangements with our OEM partners."

Office Starter 2010 enables basic document viewing and editing only for Word 2010 and Excel 2010. Starter will be ad-supported, so, free to consumers. It is meant to replace the Microsoft Works trial that is often preloaded on new PCs. In spite of its name, Office Starter 2010 has little resemblance to Windows 7 Starter Edition or Windows Phone Starter Edition.

Microsoft also will be offering customers Office 2010 via a Product Key Card, which is a single-license card that unlocks Office 2010 which will be sold at major retailers and OEMs. The idea behind this is to allow users to more easily and quickly upgrade to one of the full consumer versions of Microsoft Office 2010. There’s no media on the card; it’s just a key. This works when an Office image is pre-installed already on a new machine and the key activates it.

Topics: Microsoft, Collaboration, Hardware, Software

About

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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  • RE: Office 2010: Microsoft to charge PC makers less for preloading more

    Office Starter would have been more compelling if it included PowerPoint. In fact, Word and PowerPoint would have been perfect instead of Word and Excel.
    xp-client
    • RE: Office 2010: Microsoft to charge PC makers less for preloading more

      @anonymuos

      I agree with that. Working in education IT I find that Word and PowerPoint are the two most common MS Office applications used by students.
      bobiroc
      • GET RID of MS I wont preload

        and will gut any os that does.

        Google all the way. OpenOffice is great! and there is no need for MS other than its Visual Studio environment. I wonder why they dont pay royalties to SUN for mimicking most of Java's (Eclipse) functionality.
        Uralbas
    • RE: Office 2010: Microsoft to charge PC makers less for preloading more

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  • God I hate preloaded crapware

    My little sister got a low-end laptop for Christmas. With all the crapware HP had preloaded on the system, it would barely chug along, kept popping up all kinds of stupid ads and messages, and a huge chunk of disk space was eaten up. It took me two days of solid work to clean off all the crap. And if you ever have to rebuild one of these machines from optical media, all the crapware gets reloaded too, no way to prevent it.

    Not to mention all of those ads that say: "Hundreds of dollars of software included for free!" It reminds me of the way settlers sold disease-infested blankets to the Indians.
    terry flores
    • Aside from the toolbars, it's hardly crap in this package

      @terry flores

      It's a photo management program, IM/chat program, email program, and a blog-writing program, along with some support services for synchronization and the like.

      If you want to get a cheap copy of Office with a new PC (OEM bundled copy), you can only buy a product key, because the trial has to be preloaded too. The OEM packages don't include media. Retail versions can be purchased with media, support from Microsoft, and the 3 PC rights for Home and Student, but they cost extra. Customers looking to save money can just buy a product key and unlock their preinstalled trial instead.

      All of the software can be uninstalled though, and at least Windows Live Essentials uses a single installer/uninstaller for all of the applications. Ditto for Office.

      Also, installing Bing Bar is stupid since WL Essentials already includes WL Toolbar. If Microsoft wants to include support in the browser for all kinds of online services, they should build a better extensibility framework than just toolbars. If they had a webslice-type option for online photo, mail, blog, etc., it would be a lot better.
      Joe_Raby
      • Crapware = limited versions

        Anything that comes on the computer that isn't a full and permanent version in my opinion IS crapware. Uninstall that crapware and get full products like AVG Antivirus, Avast, Open Office, and more. There are products out there for FREE that are excellent products, it's called Open Source software.
        Chris_Clay
    • RE: Office 2010: Microsoft to charge PC makers less for preloading more

      @terry flores

      I have had this problem with HP machines as well. The best thing to do is just wipe the drive with a clean install, but not everyone has access to a disk. If anything Microsoft should charge OEMs more for the shit they load these machines up with. Or a class action suit... some of these brand new machines are shipped in such an unworkable state, I'm surprised consumers put up with it.
      The one and only, Cylon Centurion
      • RE: Office 2010: Microsoft to charge PC makers less for preloading more

        @NStalnecker

        I know. Dell will still give you the individual discs if you request them at the time of purchase. HP and some other vendors give you all inclusive restore Discs that you usually have to make yourself or rely on the restore partition.

        If they are going to sell the PC that way the least they could do is make more of a custom restore option where you can select and deselect the software options you want. I know that adds a level of complexity to the restore process but I cannot imagine they cannot make it fairly user friendly. I mean how hard is it to make a page that says "Now Select the Software You Would like Pre-installed" or something. I mean Microsoft gets hammered for including things like a web browser and yet OEMs can install every toolbar under the sun along with trialware and adware ridden applications that slow down the computer.
        bobiroc
      • They don't that is why they buy a MAC.

        @NStalnecker: Sorry.... I had to do it. ;)

        No like you said OEM's can turn an ok to fairly good machine to crap with all the trialware they put on it. What really pisses me off, and what Terry has said, that the recovery media just dumps all that crap back onto the machine. HP is notorious for this. Half the time the OS disc is an image with all the junk built on, so it is no good using the OS disc.

        Which is why I will always just custom build my own machines, and get an OS disc. Saves on a lot of headaches.
        Snooki_smoosh_smoosh
      • RE: Office 2010: Microsoft to charge PC makers less for preloading more

        @JM1981

        Not to mention if you do build your own you can generally get higher quality hardware and even include the OS and some software for cheaper. I mean I just built my Uncle a nice quad-core computer with Win7 Home Prem. and Office 2007 Home (with 2010 free upgrade) for about $700. All the parts have a 3 - 5 year warranty with some having a lifetime warranty. Compare that to some OEMs and the computer was closer to $900 with a 3 year warranty. Of course with an OEM you have 1 company to call if something fails but since my family and friends call me anyway even if they have a brand name computer under warranty I may as well build them a better quality machine for cheaper. In the end I am losing out because they only give me a little money for my labor. :(

        But like I mentioned above Dell is one of the few OEMs that still will give you individual discs for the OS, Drivers, and Software. The standard is the hard drive partition restore of course but I know when my parents bought Dell Laptops a couple years ago I told my dad to ask the dell rep for the restore discs even though it was not an option online and they sent them free of charge. First thing I did when they got the laptops was reformat and install Windows Fresh on each one.
        bobiroc
    • RE: Office 2010: Microsoft to charge PC makers less for preloading more

      @terry flores - Oh bull crap!!! There's not that much stuff HP puts on there other than MS Works, Norton AV, HP's MediaSmart software and Office Trial. The average user NEEDs AV on the pc when they buy it, they need to be able to type letters so works is very useful, Mediasmart software is utterly useless and slow and putting office trial on it helps cut costs. I don't see the problem.
      joshsc@...
      • I don't even consider norton to be a valid antivirus program....

        @joshsc@... It causes more problems with your computer than a virus would. It is not even worth the time to uninstall it, which of course can take a couple of days even using the removal tool they offer.
        dougogd@...
    • Why bother with the OEM media?

      @terry flores There's good free backup software such as Todo, which allows you to make disk images and boot disks. You'll want to update your own image anyway after you install software and get updates, service packs, etc.
      Lester Young
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  • When it comes to any non-Apple machine...

    ...the very first thing I do is flush the HDD and install the OS myself (mind you, Windows or Linux - either way). I have my own keys, and can get drivers off the site.

    That way, I get a cleaner system, and I know it's set up exactly as I want it. In the case of Linux, I can trim that puppy down as much as I want during install (custom package selection is a beautiful thing).

    the only reason I exempt my Mac (and hopefully my new one in a month or two) is because it's drop-easy to remove any and all excess apps from it, and Apple isn't into doing crapware, trialware, and other useless garbage.
    Random_Walk
    • Really?

      @Random_Walk
      What about QuickTime, iTunes, Safari, and all of that iCrap garbage that Apple throws in for free? Sounds like Macs are more loaded with crapware than a PC.
      itpro_z