Are Microsoft Office 2010 Product Key Cards False Economy?

The Product Key Card editions of Microsoft Office 2010 might carry a lower selling price (see here) than the retail box versions but they come with two significant disadvantages which means that, under most conditions, you will be better off buying the full packaged product (FPP).

After reading the small print, we found out that the three PKC versions of Office 2010 can only be installed on one computer while the FPP ones can be installed on up to three computers in the case of the Home and Student edition.

For the Home and Business and Professional editions, you will be able to install it on a desktop and a laptop. Furthermore, you will be able to transfer the software from one computer to another.

The PKC option doesn't allow that, which means that it is tied to the computer with which it came. It is geared towards enticing those who purchased a computer and got a 60-day Microsoft Office 2010 trial to upgrade to the full version.

The trouble is that, if you have more than one computer in a household, it will always cost you more to buy two PKC packages rather than the full retail boxes. And the price differences can be jaw-dropping.

The Home and Student edition will cost £110 at Amazon - that's £36.67 per licence - while you will need to fork out £90 for the PKI version. The Home and Business edition costs £240 (£120 per licence) while the PKI edition is priced at £190.

As for the Professional edition, the full version is available for £430 (£215 per licence). Expect to pay £300 for the PKI version. Office 2010 is expected to go live on the 30th of June 2010 (at least at Amazon) and you might find a much better deal if you ship in the US.

Our Comments

Microsoft Office 2010 is likely to be the most important product launch this year for the Redmond giant. It cannot afford to cock-up on this one as it knows that a number of companies - including ours - will be upgrading their platforms from Windows XP + Office 2003 to Windows 7 + Office 2010.

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