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Microsoft launches Office at consumers

Microsoft's much-trumpeted Office 2010 productivity suite has gone on sale in the UK today.

The full Home and Student edition costs £110 from Microsoft's UK store, and includes Word, Excel, PowerPoint and OneNote. It can be installed on up to three computers.

The £240 Home and Business Edition includes the core programs and adds Outlook 2010 e-mail. The £430 Professional version for businesses adds desktop publishing program Publisher 2010 and Microsoft's Access 2010 database.

Microsoft also recently launched a free web-based version of the some Office programs that can be installed by users with a Windows Live ID from the company's online SkyDrive storage service.

The free version is aimed at Google's Online Docs service but both compete with Microsoft's monolitic Office which is responsible for bringing home much of Microsoft's bacon.

The Office Business Division raked in $19 billion in sales in fiscal 2009 and generated some $12 billion of the the company's overall operating profit of $20 billion.