Microsoft confirmed earlier this year that it will be pre-installing trial versions Office 2010 on selected computers and allow users to convert them to fully functional applications imply by activating them via a product key card.
These will help Microsoft offer a much cheaper price and eliminate grey imports to some extent. The price of the Office Home and Student version drops £20 to £89.99 while the Office Home and Business will cost £189.99 compared to £239.99 for the shrink wrapped version.
As for the Office Professional version, expect a staggering saving of £130 compared to the official price of £430. We don't know whether PKC will be attached to particular areas or whether they can be transferred from one region to another.
If this is the case, expect a parallel market for them to develop fairly rapidly (ed : product key cards are non transferable).
Users will still be able to buy and download the various Office 2010 flavours straight from the localised Microsoft stores although we understand that the prices, when doing so, will be similar to those off the shelf.
Of course you can pick the Starter Edition for free but then you lose the premium technical support that comes with Office Professional 2010. Some have also complained that the latter only adds Outlook, Publisher and Access compared to the OHS 2010 package while costing four times the price.
Microsoft has yet to say whether the price of Volume Licences for corporate customers will stay the same or when Office 2010 copies will be deployed.
No prize to be won here to understand that Microsoft will be looking to entice users to upgrade their computers to the latest Windows operating system to get the Product Key Card and hence cheaper Office prices.