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January 6, 2010

Microsoft reveals US Office 2010 versions and pricing

Posted by David Hunter at 9:20 AM ET.

Microsoft yesterday revealed the versions and estimated US retail pricing for Office 2010 which is coming in June. Here’s a summary table:

Version Retail Boxed Product Product Key Card
Office Home and Student $149 $119
Office Home and Business $279 $199
Office Professional $499 $349
Office Professional Academic $99 N/A

The exact contents of each version are shown in this Microsoft document but basically Home and Student has Word, Excel, PowerPoint, and OneNote; Home and Business adds Outlook; and Professional adds Publisher and Access. As always, the academic version is available through academic resellers for use by academic faculty and students.

The Product Key Card is a new retail delivery mechanism where the consumer effectively purchases a license number that will unlock a copy of Office that has been preloaded on their new PC by the manufacturer along with the free Office Starter 2010 Edition which includes advertising supported editions of of Word and Excel. Note also that:

Ed Bott has a useful discussion of the changes compared to Office 2007 which include price decreases at the low end where Microsoft has the most competition from free Office alternatives (Starter Edition will help too) and the complete elimination of upgrade pricing. Microsoft may have been forced into the latter by the complexity of dealing with new electronic delivery mechanisms like the Product Key Card and Click-To-Run, but I am sure that the idea that a new PC simply deserves a new version of Office without fooling with an upgrade is something that their marketers would love to foster.



Filed under General Business, Marketing, Microsoft, Office, Office 2010

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July 2, 2009

Microsoft to offer family pack discount on Windows 7

Posted by David Hunter at 11:00 AM ET.

Ed Bott has been doing some sleuthing in the license agreements contained in beta builds of retail versions of Windows 7 Home Premium and spotted an interesting cluse:

“If you are a ‘Qualified Family Pack User’, you may install one copy of the software marked as ‘Family Pack’ on three computers in your household for use by people who reside there.”

Microsoft is, of course, enamored of 3 copy "family pack" discounts as witnessed by the now defunct Windows Live OneCare and the Microsoft Office Home and Student edition, but Windows is a different commodity since it is rarely purchased at retail – it usually comes with a PC.

While a Windows 7 family pack might make sense for the few folks still into assembling their own systems, it’s hard to see why Microsoft would bother with an offer like this unless it were to sell a family pack of upgrades to Windows 7 from Vista. If priced correctly that would partially ameliorate my complaint that Windows 7 upgrades should be free for current Vista users.



Filed under General Business, Marketing, Microsoft, OS - Client, Windows 7, Windows Vista

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June 25, 2009

Why aren’t Windows 7 upgrades free to Vista users?

Posted by David Hunter at 2:08 PM ET.

Microsoft today performed a goofy blog-announce of the retail pricing of Windows 7 full copies and Windows 7 upgrades and the "good news" is that Windows 7 is slightly cheaper than equivalent versions of Vista. However, customers can save roughly 50% off the upgrade prices in some countries if they preorder in the next month or so at selected retailers (varies by country – e.g. June 26 through July 11 in the USA "while supplies last" at Best Buy, Amazon, and Microsoft Store).

I always enjoy a little hucksterism, but I have to wonder how enthusiastic owners of Vista PCs are going to be about laying out $120 (or $50 for the special preorder deal) for the most common upgrade of Vista Home Premium to Windows 7 Home Premium? What’s the value proposition? How many of the few new Windows 7 features that aren’t simply Vista fixes do you really want to pay for?

Even worse off are the suckers who purchased Vista Ultimate which Microsoft wants $219 to upgrade to Windows 7 Ultimate. Throw in a little more cash and you could get a netbook instead. Current Vista owners were the guinea pigs in a flawed Microsoft development process and instead of getting a service pack, they get a bill. Since they either slogged through the morass to make their systems usable (raise your hand if you turned off UAC) or suffered in silence, shouldn’t they get a little more consideration?

Other factoids announced:



Filed under General Business, Marketing, Microsoft, OS - Client, Windows 7, Windows Vista

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December 6, 2008

Microsoft t-shirts mark new low in Crispin Porter + Bogusky cool campaign

Posted by David Hunter at 7:20 PM ET.

The Crispin Porter + Bogusky advertising and PR campaign to make Microsoft seem cool has really hit rock bottom. Their latest brainwave is the release of a line of retro Microsoft t-shirts:

Microsoft is going from marketing computer programs to making clothes, with a new line of graphic tees dubbed "Softwear by Microsoft."

"Softwear," instead of software. Get it?

It’s no surprise that Crispin Porter & Bogusky—the agency Microsoft is relying on to make it cool—had a hand in the line of urban geek shirts expected to hit select stores on December 15. Crispin conceived of the collection, the branding and many of the designs, as well as all the marketing materials, an agency representative said.

Nice of them to take the blame although Microsoft still paid for it.

The Redmond, Wash.-based software giant once again called upon a celebrity spokesperson to help it gain some street cred, this time, in the form of rapper Common. He contributed designs to the collection, reminiscent of the 80s, a time when he and Microsoft both came of age.

With due respect to the entrepreneurial instincts of Mr. Common, I am hard pressed to discern exactly what he brings to the table.

The line features retro MS-DOS fonts and a Bill Gates mugshot tee. It launched this week with a bash in New York.

The mind boggles at what the "bash" could possibly have been like. Still, while the Bill Gates mugshot tee may get some buzz, the designs actually pictured in the article are incredibly boring.  Since CP+B are clearly lost on this Microsoft deal, I thought I would help them out with some designs of my own:

Microsoft Bob t-shirt

Microsoft Clippy t-shirt

Now what computer knowledgeable person wouldn’t go for one of those?



Filed under General Business, Marketing, Microsoft, Public Relations

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