Two stories on how Microsoft is quietly offering cheaper versions of its Office product. There’s a 70% discount for teachers and students. It has also launched the new version of its Works suite which sells for under USD 100. Of course, the cheapest alternative to MS Office is OpenOffice, which is now more than good enough for most people.
Business Week: “Microsoft has been its own worst enemy, continuing to price Office as if we were still in the boom market of the late 1990s. But that may be changing. In a stealth campaign, Microsoft has been selling an academic-branded version of Office at discount retailers such as Target and Wal-Mart. That version, priced $330 less than the one sold in computer stores, used to be available only at campus bookstores and other school outlets. While you can’t upgrade the academic version, it does includes all the features.”
News.com: “Works Suite is Microsoft’s low-cost set of productivity applications for consumers not interested in the features or price of its Office XP package. Microsoft positions it as providing more value for money than Office…In addition to a basic productivity package–a spreadsheet, database, calendar and address book–the Works suite includes other Microsoft-created applications: Encarta Encyclopedia Standard 2003, Money 2003, Picture It! Photo 7.0, Streets & Trips 2002 and Word 2002.”