Microsoft unveils Office 2010 UK pricing

Microsoft Office 2010

The US and EU will pay less for Office 2010 than the UK - but even Microsoft admits that's no surprise.

When Microsoft Office 2010 arrives in June, UK customers will be paying as much as 34 per cent more than their American counterparts for the full version - although the local prices do include VAT.

At 109.99, the retail version of Office Home and Student will cost 14 per cent more than the same edition in the US, while the 239.99 Office Home and Business edition will cost 34 per cent more.

Buying Office Professional in the US will be 25 per cent cheaper than in the UK, where it will cost 429.99.

Office Product Manager Chris Adams told IT PRO that the prices reflect the differences in doing business.

"There are different market dynamics - channel margins, for example, local market conditions, foreign exchange - that we need to take on board," he said.

"It's a range of different factors, but ultimately, the cost of doing business is different in different markets around the world," he said. "We feel that the prices we've landed on represent good value for UK customers as part of the broader offering of 2010."

"It's a very similar story when we look at any of our pricing compared to the US - you'll also have a similar view later on this year when we announce EU pricing as well," he added.

Product key cards

Microsoft won't be offering upgrades from 2007 to 2010, mostly because with the last release it didn't sell that many. "While it was a great deal for many people, there wasn't that many people that purchased upgrade media," Adams noted.

This is where product key cards (PKC) come in. The three Office editions will be available as standard retail copies as well as on newly bought computers via a "product key card."

That will let users pick which edition they'd like, pay about a third less than a boxed or download version, and receive a code to enter to active the software without downloading anything or waiting for an install disc.

Unlike the boxed products, the pre-installed PKC copies of Office will not be transferable to another PC. In addition, the price covers a single licence, while buying a boxed edition offers multiple licences.

The software will be "tied to the PC... very similar to an OEM licence that Microsoft would have had in the past," Adams noted. "That licence is tied to the PC for the life that you own it."

While anyone buying a single new PC might find the PKC experience cheaper, small and medium-sized businesses (SMBs) or families picking up multiple new computers would find it less expensive to simply buy the boxed version, Adams admitted.

Here's the full pricing:

Office Home and Student - 109.99 boxed, 89.99 for key card

Office Home and Business - 239.99 boxed, 189.99 for key card

Office Professional - 429.99 boxed, 299.99 for key card

Adams said there would be a Office Professional Academic version in the UK, but pricing had yet to be decided. In the US, that will cost $99.

Read on for our review of the Office 2010 beta.