Amazon, others discount Office 2010 day before launch

A day before Microsoft’s Office 2010 goes on sale, some online retailers have discounted the new suite by as much as $40.

Although Microsoft has no plans to promote the new office suite with special deals, retail partners are free to run their own sales, a Microsoft spokeswoman said by e-mail.

As of Monday afternoon, listed the lowest-priced edition, Office 2010 Home and Student, for $129.99 , $20 less than the list $149.99. Another online outlet,, listed the three-license home edition for the same $129.99 .

Amazon’s prices for Office 2010 ( see review ) Home and Business and Office 2010 Professional were $40 less than list price, or $239.99 and $459.99, respectively. Newegg matched those prices as well.

Also set to debut Tuesday are lower-priced “key cards,” a new way Microsoft will sell Office. The cards, which contain a single-license product key, can be used to upgrade older versions of Office or activate a trial edition or copy that’s been downloaded from Microsoft.

A key card can also upgrade a copy of Office Starter , the new stripped-down version that OEMs preinstall on new PCs, to a full edition.

In January, Microsoft announced that it was dumping upgrade pricing , a long-standing hallmark of Office’s retail price structure, and said the key cards would replace the discounted upgrades.

A one-license key card for Office 2010 Home and Student, for example, will run $119, with Home and Business cards priced at $199. Office 2010 Professional’s cards will cost $349.

From the discounted prices now available at Amazon and Newegg, it appears Microsoft’s retail partners are not allowed to drop prices of the disc-based editions below those of the corresponding editions’ key cards.

Microsoft officially launched Office 2010 at a New York event on May 12. Business customers with volume license agreements have been able to obtain the new suite since then.

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