Microsoft Office — cheap at twice the price

OK, so I agree -- that's not something you usually hear people say. And the survey we conducted earlier this year more than proved the point (if proof were needed) that most people think Microsoft Office is expensive and not particularly brilliant value for money.

But the survey also showed that a lot of people think Microsoft Office is a lot more expensive than it actually is -- on average, the survey respondents thought Microsoft Office cost £473, but there's only one version (the all-singing-all-dancing Ultimate version) that costs more than that.

Are you looking for a copy for home use?

If you don't need a copy of Microsoft Office for work, then Office Home & Student 2007 is a fantastic deal -- you can install it on up to 3 PCs and it costs less than £100. Plus, at some times of the year (eg Xmas), there are some amazing offers available (I've seen it on sale for £58.95)

Are you about to buy a new PC?

54% of survey participants correctly identified "when buying a new PC" as the cheapest time to buy Microsoft Office.  (Note: this does tie your copy of Microsoft Office to the PC that you buy it with -- you can't move it over to another PC later on.)

Are you eligible for an upgrade?

Upgrades are a lot easier to get than you probably think. If you own a copy of Microsoft Works (version 6.0 onwards) or any Microsoft Office Product or Suite (2000 onwards) then you'll be eligible for an upgrade -- which works out considerably cheaper than the fully-priced version.

Are you a higher-education student?

The Ultimate Steal is an amazing deal for higher-education students (the link is for the UK site but there are similar offers available in other countries). Microsoft Office Ultimate 2007 for less than £40.

Surf the web for the best deals

Even if you don't meet any of the above categories, you might be surprised by just how little Microsoft Office can cost. I stumbled across the Compare Office 2007 website, and was impressed by the range of retailers that had some great deals available (although, oddly, a couple of retailers including Dabs and Wstore were missing from their list).

[Note: online survey conducted in March 2008 with 5,000 responses from UK "At Work" newsletter subscribers.]

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