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Office 2007 H&S for 40% less in Africa

Microsoft Office Home and Student pack will now cost 40% less in parts of Africa, but that's still expensive for many.

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Microsoft Office Home and Student pack will now cost 40% less in parts of Africa.

The Home & Student bundle has the 2007 versions of Word, Excel, Powerpoint and OneNote (but not Outlook) and is widely available across the globe. Most 'Home & Student' bundles include licences to install the software on three computers.

The 'old' eastern Africa price was 11,700 Kenyan Schillings (US$174) and is now down to 6,300 schillings (US$94).

That's a big price cut but has to be compared with the average income in Kenya of less than US$400 a year - in other words buying Microsoft Office is a big expense.  ( Mind you - it pays to be a politician in Kenya. According to Newsweek, a Kenyan Cabinet Minister has to 'get by' on just US$216,000 with only $3k taxable! That's more than comparable positions in the US or UK and is even more valuable given the relatively low cost of living. )

The 'street' price for the same product in the USA is around $80 (list price $150) while UK customers pay around £60 (US$110) with a list price of £120 (US$220).

These price cuts apply in most African countries including Kenya and Botswana (we've asked Microsoft for a full list of applicable countries and prices but have received no response).  No word on price changes for other Office 2007 bundles either.

Back in June, Microsoft halved the price of Office 2007 in mainland China. While the pricing details where vague, it seems that the 'Home & Student' is priced around the US$100 mark in both China and the African markets.


As noted above, we asked Microsoft for a list of the African countries where the new Office 2007 pricing would apply. It was surprisingly difficult to obtain this seemingly simple information but here's what we found out.

Microsoft has set a net price for 'Office' with a view to allowing retailers to sell for 'less than US$100' on the street. (we are assuming that the 'Home & Student' bundle is intended)

  • The exact price in local currency for any country was not available from Microsoft.
  • We cheekily asked MS Africa for the current price of Office in Zimbabwe, with its famously high inflation of over 10 million percent. Since in mid-August 2008 a loaf of bread cost 1.6 trillion Zimbabwe dollars a copy of Office 2007 Home & Student might now cost close to ZWD$1,000,000,000,000,000 or a quadrillion in local paper.

The new Office Home & Student pricing applies in all non-EU countries that are not 'High Income' countries.

  • Microsoft calls these locations "Emerging Markets".
  • 'High income' is defined by World Bank GNI (Gross National Income) Classification. Microsoft uses the July 2007 tables.
  • On that basis ALL African countries qualify under Microsoft's 'Emerging Markets' definition. (countries like South Africa and Equatorial Guinea are in the 'middle income' classification).
  • So why didn't Microsoft just say that?

Article posted: Thursday, 28 August 2008

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