02:14 PM
Jake Widman
Jake Widman

Microsoft Applications, Cheap And Legal

A colleague has posted a rundown of ways to avoid paying full freight for Microsoft software, including several that a clever SMB could benefit from.

A colleague has posted a rundown of ways to avoid paying full freight for Microsoft software, including several that a clever SMB could benefit from.I wouldn't usually just direct my readers to someone else's column, but in this case I'll make an exception. Rafe Needleman over at CNet has put together a roundup of the various discounts and subscription programs Microsoft offers that can enable a business to avoid paying the steep list prices. They are all subject to restrictions of one sort or another -- missing elements from the full Office boat, limited ability to upgrade, the need to qualify as a Microsoft partner -- but the savings are dramatic.

And, importantly, all of the methods are legal. There's a difference between recognizing an SMB's need to take advantage of breaks in these tough economic times, and condoning stealing.

Microsoft isn't the only vendor to offer these kinds of discounts, of course. Mac-based businesses who want to use Apple's iWork suite can purchase five licenses for only $20 more than a single license costs. And Filemaker Pro has so many licensing and bundling options that you can feel like you're reading the combo offers at Quizno's.

And then there are the completely free alternatives, led by the OpenOffice suite. Those, too, can be a lifesaver for businesses who need to equip an office on a budget. Nevertheless, Microsoft software is still the coin of the business realm, and any tips on how to reduce the necessary outlay are welcome.

Don't Miss: SLIDESHOW: Microsoft Office Alternatives

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