| By Woody Leonhard |
With the official consumer release of Office 2010 now in full swing, sticker shock awaits. Office 2010 may be many things, but cheap ain’t one of ‘em.
If you act immediately on Microsoft’s model-end clearance sale, you can save a great deal of money — more than $200 in one scenario.
No official discounts for Office 2010 upgrades
The key to saving cash when moving up to Office 2010 is Microsoft’s Office 2010 Technology Guarantee (FAQ page). When Microsoft releases a new version of Office, it usually throws a clearance sale to move out the old product and encourage you to purchase the new. The Technology Guarantee doesn’t offer any discounts; it just guarantees a free upgrade to 2010 if you buy and activate Office 2007 before Oct. 1, 2010. This ensures that sales of Office don’t come to a screeching halt while customers wait for the new Office.
In past years, the clearance sale was not especially enticing because Microsoft also offered upgrade discounts to customers who already owned Office — a policy Microsoft dropped with Office 2010.
Fortunately, due to some licensing quirks, you may be able to carve out your own discount if you have a valid copy of Office 2003. And you do it by first upgrading to Office 2007. The catch is that you have to purchase a copy of Office 2007 before dealers’ stocks run out — which could be soon. (Office 2010 is now widely available in retail stores and online.)
Use Office 2010 licensing rules to your gain
Here’s the crux of the problem — and the opportunity. Although Office 2010 doesn’t have upgrade pricing, Office 2007 still does. For example, if you own Office 2003 Ultimate, you can buy the Office 2007 Ultimate upgrade and save a pretty penny.
If you follow the rules — they’re complicated — and you already own a legitimate copy of Office 2003, you should be able to buy a discounted upgrade version of Office 2007 and then parlay it into a free copy of Office 2010, thanks to the Microsoft Office 2010 Technology Guarantee.