Office 2010 Hits RTM, Pre-Sales Begin

Buyers can choose a download or boxed version of Microsoft's suite, but those who opt for the latter will pay a heavy "cardboard tax."



Now that Microsoft has released its new Office 2010 suite to manufacturing, online and brick-and-mortar stores are ramping up pre-sales efforts for the productivity suite, which is expected to ship in June.

Amazon and Best Buy are now promoting Office 2010 pre-sales, as is Microsoft's own online store.

What's clear from Amazon's site is that customers who opt for a fully boxed version of the software over a download will pay a heavy price for the extra cardboard.

The boxed version of Office 2010 Professional is a whopping $499, while the download is $349.

There's also significant price discrepancies between boxed and download delivery for other versions as well. For the Home & Student version, it's $149 vs $119. For Home & Business, it's $279 vs $199.

Microsoft is offering free upgrades to a comparable version of Office 2010 to customers who purchase Office 2007 between now and September 30.

Office Home & Student 2007 buyers get a free upgrade to Office Home & Student 2010. Office Standard 2007 customers receive a free upgrade to Office Home & Business 2010, and buyers of the 2007 versions of Office Small Business, Professional, or Ultimate can upgrade to Office Professional 2010.

Along with the desktop versions of the software, Office 2010 includes an online version Microsoft is calling Office Web.

Access to Office Web, which includes versions of Word, PowerPoint, Excel, and OneNote optimized for the cloud, is available to Microsoft's subscription customers at no additional charge to the client version. Consumers will be able to access Office Web entirely for free through Microsoft's Windows Live portal.

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