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More Office purchase anomalies from Microsoft

Microsoft’s Black Friday offer for Office 2007 may have ended but the strangeness of buying Office direct from Microsoft continues.

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by Office Watch

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Microsoft's Black Friday offer for Office 2007 may have ended but the strangeness of buying Office direct from Microsoft continues. Not only does it pay to shop around - it pays to shop around different parts of Microsoft's own web site!

The options offered depend on what part of the Microsoft site you start from and both are more expensive than almost any other retailer.

The Microsoft Office site leads you to an option similar to that we talked about with the Black Friday offer - 'options' are added without request for various 'licence lock box' and DVD options.

Microsoft Office online Home and Student shop link with extras Dec 2008 image from More Office purchase anomalies from Microsoft at

We're obliged to some Office Watch readers who have pointed out the faint 'Remove' icon on the right of each product - indeed so faint that they are not even visible on some computer screens! The 'faint remove icon' trick isn't just Microsoft, we've noted similar complaints about the Ryanair site "I found the Remove button was hard to see and agree it is very annoying to have to deselect services you don't want rather than opting to pay for them if required.".

Not only are the Licence Lock Box options added without request, they have mysteriously increased in price. The cheapest option has more than doubled in less than a week - the $14.99 option was only $6.99 during the Black Friday offer. The most expensive choice is now $24.99 up from $16.99 while the 'Backup CD without Licence Key' choice remains at $12.99.

However if you start your purchase at the new Microsoft Store you don't get the extra, unasked charges - it's a straight purchase also for $149.95.

Microsoft Store online Home and Student Dec 2008 image from More Office purchase anomalies from Microsoft at

The Remove option is more obvious too (it's a standard text link).

Why pay for the 'Lock Box'?

It's hard to see the benefits of the 'Licence Lock Box' additional charges. If you buy from the Microsoft Store then both your product key and software download are available to you for no extra charge. According to the store info all Product Keys are kept with the order confirmation in your online account. The software download will be available until mainstream support ends for that product (say 5 years after release).

The 'Backup CD' choice is even harder to justify. If you want a product disk you can get one buying the retail box of Office which is usually available for much less than the high prices offered by Microsoft online. Even if you do buy from Microsoft at full price, all you have to do is choose the 'CD' option which is available for the same price plus $6.99 shipping - instead of extra charges ranging from $12.99 to $24.99.


Unless you absolutely, positively gotta have Office now (and your Office trial software has expired) then the Microsoft online store (whichever incarnation) is an expensive choice.

Almost any major retailer can sell you the same software for a lower price and with no extra charges for a physical DVD nor storage of your product key.

Article posted: Thursday, 04 December 2008

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