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Doug's Mailbag: Office 2010 Upgrade Pricing, More

Milton thinks the upgrade-less Office 2010 pricing won't do Microsoft any favors:

Microsoft Office's high price is a strange choice, considering Google Apps and Open Office are such viable alternatives.

But Scott thinks that there are some savings to be had with the upcoming version of Office:

What I think is getting lost in the "no upgrade pricing" stories is that Microsoft is selling the software as multi-license packages. When you take that into account, the software is actually cheaper than its 2007 equivalent. If you buy the Home and Student version ($149), you get three licenses to install. Last time I checked, $50 for four mainstream apps is pretty good. If you buy the Home and Business version ($250), you get two licenses to install and Outlook added in. If you buy the Professional version ($499), you get two licenses to install as well as Publisher and Access; that's $250 per person for seven apps -- less than $40 per application. And the mother of all deals, the Professional Academic, is $99 for the same apps that are found in the Professional version and can be installed on up to two PCs. And since this version is available to K-12 and college students, anyone with a child in school would qualify for this price point. Granted, the single-user license "key card" isn't hugely discounted, but how many home users will need anything more than the Home and Student version? Most businesses have a software agreement so they'll get it cheaper anyway.

Too many people seem to be denigrating Microsoft for actually making the app structure simpler and cheaper because they aren't being given all of the details. I commend Microsoft for this pricing structure and I think more people would if each article headline regarding this subject didn't start with "Microsoft no longer offering upgrade pricing."

IDC's prediction that the fat client era will soon come to an end was met by a chorus of disbelief among most readers. Peter's no exception:

There was a serious case to be made for thin clients in the era when they cost around 10 percent of a thick client (the 1980s, if you can remember that far back!). But no matter how strong its proponents made the case, it was never a success, and for the same reasons that are around today -- single points of failure, the true ratio between dumb terminals per server (they advocate 1:40 when it is nearer to 1:20 and hence the requirement to purchase twice as many servers), bandwidth requirements, etc.

One can now buy thin clients that are more expensive than a reasonably configured thick client! Fat chance. It has always been and will remain a niche market -- unless cloud computing to a browser wins the desktop, and that is not very likely.

Tell us what you think! Leave a comment below or send an e-mail to [email protected]

Posted by Doug Barney on 01/13/2010 at 1:17 PM


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