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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not only is the Student edition really cheap (sold at a “special offer” price of $150, an offer that has not been rescinded for over 5 years), but it can be installed on up to three computers, making it very attractive to all sorts of people, including business users.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 Nathan Weinberg | General, Applications, Office, Word, Outlook, OneNote | no comments

KBCafe 2006 Blog Awards

Randy Morin is doing his KBCafe awards for the best blogs of 2006. A whole bunch of Blog News Channel blogs are nominated, including this one, so be sure to vote for InsideMicrosoft, InsideGoogle,Apple Watch and Hoffman’s Hearsay, and for all the other blogs you really like. You can vote for more than one blog in each category, which makes for some interesting possibilities. Voting closes January 10, and check back for the winners.

January 2nd, 2007 Posted by Nathan Weinberg | General, Blogs | no comments

Xbox 360 Wins Holiday Sales War, Misses 10 Million Mark

UPDATE: The source of this story was CNBC, quoting NPD group numbers. Problem is, NPD says they haven’t released the numbers for December yet, and won’t for a week, and that CNBC appears to have made up the data (though the November numbers are accurate). Great. Another wonderful bit of “news reporting” from TV news. TV news is like halfway between the internet and print, with none of the reliability of print and slower than the internet, and I am so sick of the shoddy job being done by TV news.

Great news for Microsoft: The Xbox 360 has won the first head-to-head holiday season against its console brethren. From November 1 to Christmas, Microsoft sold 2 million game consoles, while the Nintendo Wii moved 1.8 million units and Sony unequivocally lost with just 750,000 sold. The Wii was a surprising success, becoming a real hot item, but faces a tough future with few hot titles scheduled for the coming year, and Microsoft will have to fight to keep its lead and convince people that Sony will remain down where it is now.

Interestingly, Microsoft mixed its sales target of ten million by the end of the year, a target it probably should have never set. I’m sure they’d have liked to have sold another 564,000 consoles, but at least they won.

Here is the way things have looked at


January 2nd, 2007 Posted by Nathan Weinberg | General, Xbox, Xbox 360 | one comment

What It’s Like To Start Working For Microsoft

Judging from today’s post, Miel’s new Microsoft blog is going to be very interesting reading for Microsoft fans over the next few weeks. Miel, a buddy who’s blogged here in the past and helped out a lot, is starting work at Microsoft, and today he blogged about some classes he’s taking, giving a rare insight into the training a Microsoft employee gets when joining the company. There’s stuff in there about Microsoft’s vested interest in patents and intellectual property rights, keeping the corporate image while still being yourself, dealing with privacy issues, and Enterprise Search and Sharepoint 2007.

One if the things that struck me was that Microsoft has over 4000 filed patents and pays roughly $1.4 billion every year to use patented ‘products’ from other companies. Wow.

Looks like Miel’s doing a good job balancing his look inside Microsoft while respecting the privacy of Microsoft. It’s rare that a new employee for a company like Microsoft will already be an accomplished blogger, so we get to see a side of the company rarely shown in the blogosphere. Definitely worth watching. Get the feed.

January 2nd, 2007 Posted by Nathan Weinberg | General, Blogs, Corporate | one comment

Text Messages As Instant Messages On Windows Mobile


Ben Hirashima turned a cool idea into a really useful program for Windows Mobile phones. TxtMan lets you send text messages from your PDA or smart phone as though they were instant messages, keeping track of the conversation the same way an IM client does. It disables the regular messaging client and takes its place, making it a hell of a lot easier to sents texts back and forth. I know there are a lot of people who use text messaging more than they make calls, and this could be a real convenience.

Right now it works on these devices with the .NET Compact Framework 2.0 installed:

  • Motorola Q
  • Treo 700w
  • Cingular 8125
  • Verizon XV6700
  • Samsung i320
  • T-Mobile Dash

My T-Mobile MDA is an 8125 in a different outfit, so I’ll test this out on that phone and the T-Mobile SDA to see if it works.
(via Jason Langridge)

January 2nd, 2007 Posted by Nathan Weinberg | General, Windows Mobile | 2 comments