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Saving on Office 2010 by getting Office 2007 now

A complete guide to saving money on Office 2010 by getting Office 2007 now.

by Office Watch

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A one-off combination of decisions means there’s an opportunity for saving on buying Office 2010, by buying Office 2007 now. Office-Watch.com mentioned this back in March but we thought it was worth going over again now that people are seriously looking to buy Office 2010.

Overview

The Office 2010 Technology Guarantee means new purchases of Office 2007 now qualifies you for a free copy of Office 2010 later in the year.

The Technology Guarantee isn’t new but there’s usually no great price difference. However the ‘premium’ editions of Office 2010 are considerably more expensive than the Office 2007 equivalents.

That’s mostly because there is no ‘version upgrade’ options for Office 2010 – everyone buys the same product with no discount for existing Office users.

For example, buying Office 2007 Small Business – version upgrade now will cost about US$218 (street price) with a free copy of Office 2010 Professional coming later this month. Office 2010 Professional has all the same applications plus OneNote and Access.

If you wait and buy Office 2010 Professional later the retail price is $499 – while the street price isn’t known, a discount of over 50% is unlikely.

You save $281 ($499-$218) by buying a qualifying Office 2007 bundle now.

Office 2010 Professional

Office 2010 Professional will contain the 2010 versions of Word, Excel, Powerpoint, Outlook, OneNote, Publisher and Access.

The Technology Guarantee says that Office 2007, Ultimate, Professional or Small Business bundles will qualify for Office 2010 Professional.

So buying the cheapest legal, new, version upgrade copy ofOffice 2007 Ultimate or Professional or Small Business bundle is your path to the high-end Office 2010 bundle. Depending on which bundle you buy, Office 2010 Professional will add Access, Onenote or both.

Usually the Office 2007 Small Business pack is the cheapest (retail price $280, street $218) but Office 2007 Ultimate is close with Amazon selling it for $225 (retail $540). It’s worth checking both prices before buying.

Office 2010 Home and Business

The savings may not be as great with Office 2010 Home and Business (containing Word, Excel, Powerpoint, Outlook and Onenote).

Buying Office 2007 Standard bundle now qualifies you – the version upgrade retail price is $240 but it’s on sale for $213.

Compare that with the Office 2010 Home and Business retail price of $279.

Will the street price be higher than the $213 you pay now? Maybe, maybe not.

Office 2007 Basic is only available from PC manufacturers. If you are offered it with a new computer, keep in mind the retail and possible street price of Office 2010 Home and Business to see if it’s a good deal.

Office 2010 Home and Student

There’s no price advantage since both the Office 2007 and Office 2010 Home & Student bundles have the same retail price; $149.

Other cheap options

If you qualify for Academic, student (aka ‘Ultimate Steal’) prices or the Military Appreciation editions then you can buy Office 2007 now and get the Office 2010 upgrade. However in all these cases it’s quite likely that Office 2010 bundles will be available at roughly the same discounts as currently apply to Office 2007.

Qualifying for the version upgrade

The ‘version upgrade’ Office 2007 bundles are cheaper than the non-upgrade packages. We’re assuming that Office-Watch.com readers have a qualifying copy of Office around.

You need one of the following installed or an install disk available to qualify for the version upgrade to Office 2007.

Quoting from Microsoft: “

  • any 2000–2007 Microsoft Office program or suite
  • any Microsoft Office XP suite except Office XP Student and Teacher.
  • Microsoft Works 6.0–10
  • Microsoft Works suite 2000–2006 or later

In short, all you need is a copy of Office 2000 or up (with one exception).

That includes Office 2007 itself! If you have Office 2007 already, just buy another cheap Office 2007 version upgrade to qualify for Office 2010. Sounds screwy but ‘them’s the rules’. There can be an advantage in buying a copy of Office 2007 that matches the one you already have installed, see below.

Some retailers are pushing people to buying the more expensive non-upgrade versions of Office 2007, saying that the version upgrades don’t qualify for an Office 2010 freebie. That’s definitely not true – reading Microsoft’s own rules make it clear:

“ What Office 2007 products qualify for the Office 2010 upgrade?

It says amongst other things …

Version upgrades, Academic versions and Military Appreciation products are all eligible for the Tech Guarantee. “

Source: Microsoft Office 2010 Technology Guarantee: FAQ a page which is linked to with the phrases ‘eligibility requirements’ and ‘See full list of Office 2007 qualifying products.’

Install and Activate

It’s not enough to just buy Office 2007 and leave it on a shelf. You have to install and activate the Office 2007 bundle then record the Product ID generated by activation. Go to Office button | Options | Resources | About:

Word 2007 - Product ID on the About dialog image from Saving on Office 2010 by getting Office 2007 now at Office-Watch.com

We suggest recording the Product Key, date,time, machine, IP addressand other location details of your activation as well as the Product ID, just in case of a dispute.

Note: the Product ID is different from the 25 character Product Key which is supplied with purchase of Office 2007.

But how and where to install if you already have Office running on a computer? Here’s some suggestions:

  • Another computer in the house or small office.
  • On a virtual machine either Virtual PC or VMWare workstation.
    • Windows 7 Professional or Ultimate comes with ‘Windows XP Mode’ which is really Virtual PC with a supplied Windows XP virtual machine.  Savvy users can 'clone' the supplied virtual machine to make many XP modes.
    • Other versions of Windows 7 plus Vista and XP can also download Virtual PC 2007 free but have to make their own virtual machine.
  • If you have a dual-boot machine, install on another boot partition. That said, multiple boot systems aren’t recommended these days. The better option is virtual machines.
  • If you’ve bought an Office 2007 package that’s exactly the same as already installed (eg you buy Office 2007 Professional and have Office 2007 Professional on the computer) then you should be able to change the product key to the one used with the latest purchase and reactivate the existing Office installation. See Office-Watch.com’s recent article Office 2007 – changing Product Key written specially to cover this possibility.

What's important is that you install the newly purchased copy of Office 2007 with the new Product Key, activate the software and, importantly, get the Product ID. How you do that is up to you and it makes no difference to the Tech Guarantee which software you use to qualify the Office 2007 upgrade installation.  That's assuming that the upgrade install actually asks for the qualifying software at all. Some Office-Watch.com readers report that they've installed the 'version upgrade' software with no qualifying software present but, as they say "Your mileage may vary". 

There's also no requirement for the newly installed Office 2007 to remain installed -- what's important, according to Microsoft's rules, is that you get the Product ID. As long as you have the Product ID and other proofs of purchase you should be good. Remember that you only have to install, activate and get the Product ID. After that you can uninstall anytime you wish.

We can't say for certain since fulfillment of the Office 2010 Technology Guarantee hasn't happened yet, but it would seem unlikely (but not certain) that when you get Office 2010 the setup will require you to have any past version of Office present. Office 2010 retail comes with two or three licenses depending on the bundle purchased so it would not be practical to tie the Office 2010 obtained via the Technology Guarantee to any single existing Office 2007 installation.

What’s the catch?

Make sure you buy a legitimate, new copy of Office 2007 from a reputable retailer – second-hand copies don’t count.

Note: Ebay sales are specifically EXcluded from qualifying.

Once Office 2010 is released you’ll be able to go online and claim the software for free download.

Keep your itemized and dated receipt for Office 2007 as well as details of activation, in case of a dispute.

All the gory details of the Technology Guarantee are on the Microsoft web site.  Microsoft's rules are the final word on the Technology Guarantee.

Important Dates

  • March 5, 2010, and September 30, 2010
  • Your Office 2007 software has to be purchased AND activated by 30 September 2010.

October 31, 2010

  • You have to claim your Tech Guarantee upgrade from Microsoft by October 31, 2010

Links

To qualify for Office 2010 Professional (Word, Excel, PowerPoint, Outlook, OneNote, Publisher and Access) retail price $499:

Office 2007 Ultimate

Office 2007 Professional

Office 2007 Small Business

Currently the Small Business bundle is cheapest of the three at Amazon @ $218 but the Ultimate edition is only a few dollars more and is sometimes cheaper.

To qualify for Office 2010 Home and Business (Word, Excel, PowerPoint, Outlook and OneNote) retail price $279:

Office 2007 Standard

All links to the cheaper, version upgrade, edition at Amazon USA

Tip: use the free Super Saver shipping option.

Amazon Canada 

Office 2007 Small Business upgrade for $265

Amazon UK

where the cheapest option now is for Office 2007 Small Business Upgrade for £186.87

Article posted: Wednesday, 02 June 2010

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