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What's so special about the Home and Student edition?

Office 2007 Home and Student edition is Microsoft’s lowest price option for most people – what’s so special about that version of Office 2007 and why is it cheaper?

Office 2007 Home and Student edition is Microsoft’s lowest price option for most people – what’s so special about that version of Office 2007 and why is it cheaper?

The Home and Student (H&S) edition contains Word 2007, Excel 2007 , Powerpoint 2007 and OneNote 2007 only – the notable omission being Outlook 2007. However it’s not just the contents that makes this bundle special.

Office XP and Office 2003 had a ‘Student and Teacher’ edition which had different rules as well as including Outlook in the bundle. Office Watch did a special feature on the Office 2003 Student and Teacher edition back in 2004.

Current Prices

The Home and Student edition comes in two main versions – Windows and Macintosh.

The Windows version – Office 2007 Home and Student edition (US English) – is officially priced at $149.95 in the USA but can usually be purchased for less than $100. If you see the bundle for sale at anything like the official price, look elsewhere. There is a Spanish language version of the H&S bundle on sale in the USA for the same official price however less discounting seems available.

The Mac version – Office 2008 Home and Student edition – is also officially priced at $149.95 in the USA though discounting isn’t as common with the Mac version you should be able to find it for less than $120.

In the UK and Australia the same Home and Student bundles are available with similar reduction on the official prices when you buy from almost any retailer.

Outside the USA, the Home and Student edition is sold at various prices depending on the location. As previously noted in Office Watch – Microsoft’s policy for ‘Emerging Markets’ is to set a price for Office Home and Student allowing retailers to sell it for less than $100 on the street. Over time we’ve seen Microsoft announce reduced prices for Office 2007 in various countries like China, Pakistan and non-specific countries in Africa – but the only price mentioned is for the Home and Student edition (actually in most cases the edition of Office isn’t mentioned at all but it seems to be referring to the H&S edition).

Computer makers can sell the Home and Student edition with a new computer and often do that for a lower price than any retail purchase.

Regardless of where you are on the good earth – the bottom line is that Home and Student edition is most likely the cheapest way for individuals to get Word, Excel and Powerpoint ‘off the shelf’. It’s a good option if you only want the core Office apps and qualify.

The rules formerly known as EULA

If you’ve been around computers for a while you’ll hear talk of EULA’s – End User Licence Agreements which govern the terms under which you use any software.

Microsoft Office doesn’t have EULA’s anymore – say hello to MSLT or Microsoft Software License Terms.

Whatever acronym is used, it’s those rules which govern how you can install and use the software you buy. Ignore anything a salesperson tells you, you read on a web site or even on the retail box of the product. The MSLT is the first and final word on the subject.

Office Watch grabbed a snorkel and dove into the twenty pages of MSLT to see what’s up with the Home and Student edition.

Number of computers

Office 2007 Home and Student edition can be installed on three household computers to be used by people who live there- compare that with the standard Microsoft Office licence which lets you install the software on one computer plus a portable device for use by a single person.

This provision alone makes the H & S option good value for a family with several computers.

There seems no limitation on installing to a laptop computer which is removed from the house. As long as the person who uses the software resides in the household. Strictly speaking that might not apply, for example, to a child who moves out to attend college. The legal definition of ‘residence’ can get murky and has taken up many hours of legal debate over the decades. Of course, in practice Microsoft isn’t going to knock on your door to see who is living there.

The MSLT uses the term ‘household’ without further definition except to say that “The software is not licensed for use in any commercial, non-profit, or revenue-generating business activities.” So if you’re running a business from home then the rules of the Home and Student edition exclude you.

In the real world, Microsoft can enforce the ‘three computers’ rule through product activation but can’t realistically enforce who is using the software nor where and how they are using it.

Where’s the student?

Despite being called ‘Home and Student’ edition on the box there is no requirement that a student use the software or even live in the home. In fact the words ‘student’ or ‘education’ don’t even appear in the license rules.

The previous Student and Teacher did have a limitation on who was supposed to buy it – though that requirement wasn’t enforceable in practice.

There has been talk about retailers selling the Home and Student version to small businesses using various excuses. While that’s possible, it seems more likely that a retailer would want to increase their sales or sales commission. Office Watch has received various reports from readers about being turned away from the Home and Student edition (or the Office 2003 Student and Teacher incarnation) being told that the H & S edition can only be sold if there is a student in the house. This is just an excuse by a retailer to sell a more expensive product.

Upgrading from H&S to current or future MS Office

It is widely believed that the Home and Student edition does not qualify you for upgrade pricing if you buy a more expensive version of Office 2007 or any future version of Office. That’s NOT true, at least as far as buying Office 2007 is concerned.

The belief came about because the Office XP Student and Teacher version wasn’t upgradable – ie owning it doesn’t qualify you for cheaper pricing on Office 2007. Adding to the confusion was a mistake on the Office 2007 retail box.

The Office 2003 Student and Teacher bundle DOES qualify for any of the Office 2007 upgrade versions.

We could find nothing in the MSLT or elsewhere to suggest that Office 2007 Home and Student will not qualify for future upgrades. In fact you can use it to qualify for upgrade pricing on the more expensive versions of Office 2007 (for example if you later decide to buy Office 2007 Professional).

What pricing and upgrade rules will apply to future versions of Office remains to be seen. However it seems probable that Office 2007 Home and Student edition will qualify for upgrades to future versions of Office. Microsoft could change their policy about upgrades – they’ve done so many times based on what’s in their interests.

Upgrading to H&S

The Home and Student edition can only be purchased as a full product – there is no ‘upgrade’ version to the Home and Student edition for Office 2007 available, whereas owning a previous version of Office normally qualifies you for a lower price to subsequent versions.

Software differences

Broadly speaking all Office 2007 programs work the same regardless of which bundle/edition you buy it under. In other words Word 2007 is the same in the Home and Student edition as the Standard or Small Business bundles. It’s the same software, the only change is the marketing name you bought it under.

The only differences are a few features that apply to large organizations – for example Information R

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