Tuesday, June 15, 2010

Office 2010 Up-Close: Availability and Product Editions

Today marks the release of Office 2010 to the general public. Office 2010 offers a great number of features and creature comforts that make it the best productivity suite available today. However, before you go out and try to purchase a copy , there are a few things that you may want to know about before purchasing Office 2010. In this first of many Office 2010 Up-Close articles, I’ll take a look at the different Product Editions and where to find them.


Currently, there are six Office 2010 product editions. However, although there are several editions, each edition is tailored towards particular markets, so for the majority of Office users, only one or two of these editions will suit their needs adequately and for the right price. I’ll explain each of them as far as what target market they are for, which products they offer, and how much they cost. Here are the six.

Home Users

For those who require only a few licenses, or are purchasing Office 2010 predominantly for home use, these are the product editions for you. Furthermore, most people can choose from this category, as these will be the ones that will be available in most retail outlets.


Office 2010 Home and Student ($149.95). This edition is somewhat self-explanatory; it’s designed for the average home user and students. It includes Word, Excel, PowerPoint, and OneNote. You can purchase this edition from all major technology retail outlets, or directly from Microsoft. This version allows for activation on up to three (3) different PCs.


Office 2010 Home and Business ($279.95). This edition is designed primarily to tailor to small businesses and home businesses. It includes Word, Excel, PowerPoint, OneNote, and Outlook. If you need Outlook, then this is the lowest edition that you can purchase through Microsoft. This edition allows for activation on up to two (2) different PCs.


Office 2010 Professional ($499.99). If you need it all, this is it. Professional includes Word, Excel, PowerPoint, OneNote, Outlook, Access, and Publisher. Although Professional includes virtually all of the essential Office programs, keep in mind that many of the “extras” aren’t necessarily suited for the average home user. However, if you truly need, or crave it all, this is the edition for you. Also keep in mind, that Professional does not include Visio or Project. If you need these programs, you will need to purchase them separately at an additional cost. This edition allows for activation on up to two (2) different PCs.

Volume License Users (Businesses)

If you run a business and are willing to purchase five or more copies of Office 2010, then you are eligible for two specific Office 2010 product editions.


Office 2010 Standard (Only Volume License). This edition doesn’t quite include all of the software applications; however, it is probably suitable for the average small or even medium sized-business. It includes the essential Office Applications plus a few extras such as Word, Excel, PowerPoint, Outlook (with Business Contact Manager), Publisher, and Office Web Apps.


Office 2010 Professional Plus (Only Volume License). It seems like this edition is the ultra-edition, I mean, Professional followed by Plus, how great is that? But really, unless you need all of the functionality of this suite, it’s probably not worth the high cost. However, it does offer the most programs out of all the suites including, Word, Excel, PowerPoint, OneNote, Outlook, Publisher, Access, InfoPath, SharePoint, Communicator, and Office Web Apps.

Students and Academia

If you are in academia (i.e. an enrolled student or similar), you will be allowed to purchase a specific Office 2010 suite for a reduced suite. Here’s the rap.


Office 2010 Professional Academic. This product edition is loaded with Office 2010 applications and is incredibly cheap. It includes the essentials such as Word, Excel, PowerPoint, and OneNote, but also offers Outlook, Publisher, and Access. You can also get this for a screaming deal at the Ultimate Steal website for $79.95. However, there are some restrictions. First, you must be eligible to purchase it for this prices. The requirements that are listed at the site include having a .EDU e-mail address and a student at a US educational institution and must prove you are taking at least 0.5 credits. If you fit both requirements, then it’s yours for the taking.

The Other Product Edition

There is actually one more Office 2010 product edition that may be worth mentioning. It’s called Office 2010 Starter and is a free edition that comes preloaded on new PCs. It’s essentially the replacement for the dreaded Microsoft Works and comes with slimmed down versions of Word and Excel. I’ve used this edition already, and find that it should fit the needs of the average user of Word and perhaps Excel as well. There is also an Office-to-Go feature which allows the user to install Office Starter onto a USB key.

Product Key Cards

Perhaps you’ve heard or seen the Office 2010 Product Key Cards. These are new this time around and provide a lower price for PCs that have Office 2010 pre-installed. These PKC’s offer a bit of a discount over the normal Product Edition price. However, there is one caveat with the PKC’s. One key card is only good for activation on one PC, unlike the two you get with Home and Business and Professional, and the three you get with Home and Student.


Essentially, as most PCs now come with a trial version of Office 2010 pre-installed, users will be able to use these cards to activate the already installed software suite, which is, of course, what they are designed to do. However, these cards are only supposed to be used in this manner, with a new PC. Of course, users could easily install a trial from Microsoft’s website, I would presume it would still work, but I don’t think it would meet the license requirements.

Buying the Apps Separately

You can also purchase separate applications to either add on to a particular edition, or to in a way create your own edition. Furthermore, some applications, such as Visio and Project, can only be purchased individually. The applications will be cheaper bundled together in a product edition, so make sure to check prices before purchasing a few of these applications to make sure you wouldn’t get a better deal with purchasing a product edition versus buying the apps separately.


You can purchase these application separately from several distributors, including directly from Microsoft; however, I’ve found that Amazon offers the best deals in this category.

Acquiring Office 2010

You can purchase Office 2010 from major retailers starting today (June 15, 2010). However, there are some places where purchasing Office 2010 will be significantly cheaper. For the most part, finding the cheapest version of Office 2010 may take a bit of research, I have found that Amazon seems to offer the best prices overall for both the Product Editions and the separate applications. So, if in doubt on pricing, I would check Amazon before purchasing Office 2010 from other outlets.

Wrapping it Up

If you are eager to upgrade to Office 2010 over the coming days, weeks, or months, hopefully this article helped you choosing the correct edition. I’ll be providing more information in the coming days and weeks on Office 2010, along with a comprehensive review of the software suite itself. So follow along with my Office 2010 Up-Close Articles for future updates.


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