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Microsoft Doesn’t Card; Office “Student” Goes To Businessmen

Joe Wilcox has an article with a surprising fact: Microsoft Office Student and Teacher Edition made up 80% of all office suite sales over the last year. Apparently, not only is the Student edition really cheap (sold at a “special offer” price of $150, an offer that has not been rescinded for over 5 years), but it can be installed on up to three computers, making it very attractive to all sorts of people, including business users.

“They don’t card at the door,” said Chris Swenson, NPD’s director of software analysis.

Microsoft’s no-buyer-check policy, coupled with aggressive pricing and rebates, makes Student and Teacher Edition the defacto retail productivity suite standard. During the 2006 back-to-school season, rebates put the software’s price around $100, or about $250 to $300 less than Office Standard.

This generation around, what used to be Office Student is the new Office Standard (with Word, Excel, PowerPoint and Outlook), while Office Home and Student 2007 drops Outlook for OneNote, making it less attractive to business users. Because Microsoft does not offer a package that has both Outlook and OneNote (besides the $540 Ultimate Suite), users like myself, who consider both essential software, will have to weigh the cost of losing OneNote versus that of paying extra for Outlook. The odd pricing scheme means these are the two ways to get both by buying a suite:

  • Office Home and Student ($150) + Outlook ($110) = Word, Excel, PowerPoint, Outlook and OneNote for $260, OR
  • Office Standard ($240 upgrade) + OneNote ($100) = Word, Excel, PowerPoint, Outlook and OneNote for $340
  • Individually: Word ($110) + Excel ($110) + PowerPoint ($110) + Outlook ($110) + OneNote ($100) = $540

I’ve long argued this is a weird hole in the Office Suite lineup, that there is no SKU that contains Outlook and OneNote at a decent enough price. The best bet might be to hope for a rebate on Home and Student and maybe a slight savings on Outlook to bring the cost of the first package down to $200. I wish Microsoft would let you “Build Your Own Office Suite”, because I would swap PowerPoint out of Home and Student for Outlook in a second.

Anyway, the main point of Joe’s article is that Student and Teacher is taking all the customers away from the other suites, and its low price can’t be helping Microsoft’s bottom line. However, it could be argued that Student and Teacher (and now Home and Student) are targeting the “piracy market”, making money by getting people to plunk down some cash for software they might otherwise steal. Still, for the legit customers, there might still not be enough options.

I would almost argue that the best solution is to pay for Home and Student, and pirate Outlook. Hey, it could work…

January 2nd, 2007 Posted by | Applications, General, Office, OneNote, Outlook, Word | no comments

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