The Ultimate Steal is back

The moment you’ve been waiting for? Last year we ran a promotion called “The Ultimate Steal”, which offered a full copy of Office 2007 Ultimate Edition to students for £38.95. And, finally, it’s back!


In a nutshell, The Ultimate Steal is:

  • A time-limited offer available to your college students as long as they have a email address (ends at the end of June next summer)

  • For Office Ultimate 2007, which can cost up to £500 to buy the retail version, as a digital download, with the option to buy a backup on DVD for £9.95

  • Also available to your college staff too, if they have a email address

These days most students have a laptop or desktop computer, but they don’t always have the right software on it to help them with their studies. And our research said that they typically think that Office costs £100-£150 for a basic version. So instead of spending the money, many of them “borrow” a copy from a friend or parent.

We’ve always made lower cost Academic licences available, but very few students know about them, or how to buy them. So that’s why we run The Ultimate Steal – it’s a way of helping students buy the right software, at the right price.

Like last year, we're not going to spend lots of money advertising this - for one thing, it is only available to students with a email address, and so putting adverts all over the media isn't going to work. Most students found out about the offer from a friend, or from their college – many emailed their students to let them know about the offer, or put links up onto their intranets & VLEs

Buying on is easy – register with your student/staff email address, and then login and go.

Shortly, I’ll post up a standard email that you could use to let your students & staff know about the offer.

Comments (52)

  1. Mike says:

    Can we see this being extended to students as well? Secondary school 6th form is further education just as much as college.

  2. Ray Fleming says:

    Hi Mike

    Unfortunately, we had to draw the line somewhere, and we ended up drawing it at the point where students have a "" email address. We didn’t feel that it would be fair to extend it out to students with a "" email address, when most school students don’t have access to an email address like this (something like 25% of students in schools have access).

    So the preferred route for school students (and this includes Sixth Form students) is to go to one of our partners who offer Academic licences for all school students:


  3. AndyRae says:


    Last time this was not available for Mac Office, the reason being that Mac Office 2008 was released half-way through the Ultimate Steal offer. Is it going to be available this time?



  4. Ray Fleming says:

    Hi AndyRae

    We’re hoping to include the Mac Office 2008 version during the course of the offer, but currently it isn’t available as a download, so we can’t yet. Looks like Jan 2009.

    Sounds like a long time, but there’s only 99 shopping days to Christmas!


  5. AndyRae says:

    Hi Ray,

    Thanks for the update, its good news that it will be coming at all. I’ll continue with 2004 until then, glad to see solver is available for 2008 now as I’ve been holding off anyway for that.

    99 shopping days ’til Christmas :-o, the supermarkets will soon have easter eggs in then…


  6. Ray Fleming says:

    My local supermarket already has mince pies in. And right below the label that says "Ideal for Christmas" it says "Use By Date: 1-Nov-2008".

    Wonder if they’re last year’s stock?

  7. Bez says:

    So, from the 10th October we can also buy Vista… Does the download burn a bootable DVD, otherwise it seems a bit like having the media for an extra £10 isn’t really an option?!

  8. Ray Fleming says:

    Hi Bez,

    The date has changed since you commented, to 24th October (shame, but only slipped a fortnight, fortunately).

    I asked the team running the programme worldwide about the bootable DVD for Vista question, and the answer was:

    "The downloads are not an ISO. We have not seen any issues with the upgrade for those that download. Given the size of the downloads, it is worth having the media."

    To me that means – buy the DVD option when you buy the upgrade, otherwise you’ll be waiting for your network to download zillions of gigabytes 🙂


  9. Richard Buchanan says:

    If you do opt for downloading Office 2007 Ultimate through this offer, how big would the download be? (For getting an idea of how long it would take)

  10. Ray Fleming says:

    Hi Richard,

    The download is up to 500MB – time is going to depend on your Internet connection. I’d recommend opting for the backup DVD too, because that way you have something to go back to if you need to re-install, or something happens to your laptop’s hard disk


  11. AndyRae says:

    I found this (legit) website:

    Buying Mac Office from it would be cheaper than (using the assumption that Mac Office would be priced the same as Windows Office) buying it through the ultimate steal.

  12. SMK says:

    Hi can I ask when I download this am I forced to install it there and then? I’m asking because I’ll be using my University’s open access PCs to download this then hopefully burn it to a DVD/or put on a memory stick so that I can install it on my laptop at home.

    Basically I don’t want it to auto-install to the University PC.

  13. Ray Fleming says:

    Hi SMK,

    No, you download it, then install it. So it’s fine to download onto one machine, then copy across to a (big!) memory stick/DVD. In fact, I’d recommend you do that anyway, so that you have a backup


  14. Kelsey says:

    Hi Ray, Just wanted to ask if you are allowed to install it onto more than one computer?  As I have my laptop in my halls but then I still use my computer at home when I go back.  Also, my laptop came pre-installed with a trial version of a basic 2007 Microsoft suite which I’ve already entered a product key for.  What would happen to this then if I downloaded the Ultimate Suite?


  15. Trevor says:

    how many pc`s can i install this on with this licence?


  16. Ray Fleming says:

    Hi Kelsey

    You are permitted to install on two – a main desktop PC and a companion laptop – which is exactly the situation you describe, so that’s good.

    Now, if you install this Ultimate version over the top of an existing version, it will replace what you already have there. If the licence key you have entered is a full licence for that version, and it was pre-installed on your computer, then you’re not able to re-use that licence on another computer. However, if you bought the licence key in a normal boxed version from the store, then you can uninstall it, and re-install it onto another computer (however, the query is getting a little technical, so if you have more detailed questions on that, you may want to contact our licensing people:


  17. Ray Fleming says:

    Trevor (oh, getting out of sync now!)

    This licence is different from the retail version (which is labelled "Home & Student") as it contains much more – it is licensed in similar ways to the business versions. This means it is a single licence, which can be installed on a main computer, and a ‘companion’ computer – eg a laptop – used by the same person.

    The Home & Student version can be installed on 3 computers in the same household.

    In certain circumstances then, you might find the H&S licence better for you, but in most Ultimate Steal is still the best deal.


  18. Georgio says:

    Vista Ultimate upgrade available 31st October 2008?

    Today is 3rd November – has it slipped again?

  19. Ray Fleming says:


    I’ve just had a look, and it’s there in the list – you can order now (and looking at the sales from Friday, people already are!)


  20. Georgio says:

    But there is only a "Buy Now" button for Office

  21. Georgio says:

    So where is the Vista upgrade Buy It button?

  22. Ray Fleming says:

    Hi Georgio,

    Just click on the "Buy Now" button, and it takes you into the registration/shop section, where you can choose the full range of products.


  23. aurora says:

    Hi Ray

    Is this offer going to run out of stock, or have I got until June 2009? I’m running a 60 day trial of office 2007 which came with a new laptop I just purchased, and I want to wait until that’s over before I get the ultimate steal.

    Also – so is it 2 computers you can install this on, and is that only if you buy the backup DVD? I read above this that you can back it up yourself when downloading? Thanks in advance.

  24. Ray Fleming says:

    Hi Aurora,

    I don’t think we’ll run out of stock 😉

    Given that the new licence is perpetual (ie forever) then why not upgrade now, because you’ll have all of the full Office suite – unlikely with the version you’re running for trial.

    The "2 computers" thing and the "backup DVD" thing are two separate things.

    The Backup DVD is an option that you can choose to buy if you (a) don’t want to download a 1/2GB file and/or (b) if you want to have the re-assurance of a DVD that you can go back to at any time if you need to re-install (if you laptop fails or gets a really, really bad virus etc).

    Of course, you can make your own backup DVD from the download file, if you’re confident doing that.

    It’s mainly there to give you flexbility – most people choose it, just to be safe, but not everybody (and I’ve already had two emails this year from people who didn’t order the backup DVD, didn’t make their own backup copy, and then dropped their laptops. In those circumstances, there’s very little I can do to help them, as they really should have ordered the backup, or made their own)


  25. Georgio says:

    I did all the checks I could beforehand and was convinced my system could run Vista 64-bit.

    Unfortunately the download will not run and the backup disc simply hangs after loading.

    Can I exchange the disc for a 32-bit version?

  26. Ray Fleming says:

    Hi Georgi,

    You will need to raise the query with the Customer Service team – just head back to, and click on the link at the bottom right of the page


  27. Jennifer says:

    I have two laptops, one I use more in my dorm and one I take with me, I know you mentioned you could download it one two computers, a desktop and a companion laptop, would i still be able to download it on a main laptop and a companion laptop?

  28. Ray Fleming says:

    Hi Jennifer,

    The scenario you describe is fine – it’s still a main computer and companion device, so it’s covered.


  29. Alan Charlesworth says:


    According to the terms and conditions:

    "Microsoft or an appointed vendor may contact you to verify that you are a current student or member of staff.  If documentation is not provided indicating that you are a current student or member of staff, you will be liable to reimburse Microsoft for the difference between what you paid and the estimated retail price of the software."

    Can you please let us know what that documentation involes so I can have it ready? For example if its a photocopy of my Student ID card then that’s fine.  However if I need to get a letter from the university then, with the office closing soon till sometime in Jan 09, this can be a problem.  This means, I won’t be able to provide such evidence if requested if the software was purchased now.


  30. Ray Fleming says:

    Hi Alan,

    You don’t need to worry about having documentation at short notice – I think we include this condition in case there’s a serious issue with somebody who is acting unfairly – for example, they buy the software and then put it onto eBay straight away 🙂

    As long as you have your email address from your uni/college, then that will be enough proof for all except the extreme issues!


  31. aeallison says:


        I am a student in the US going to the University of Phoenix. I was unable to download the copy of Vista offered to US students due to restrictions on my internet connection, I went ahead and bought the DVD. I oredered this on the 11th day of December and they sent confirmation of shipment to me only after I had to ask why I had not received it yet. to make an otherwise long and boring story short, the first shipment was lost in the mail, 14 day wait before they would believe me that I never got it, they shipped it 7 days after the 14 day wait and when it finally arrived I pulled a copy of Office 2007 Ultimate Edition out of the package that I don’t have an activation key for. Now I am assuming that since nearly 3 days have passed since I accepted the delivery I will have to wait another 14 days before they will…. I sure hope they treat you better in the UK.

    I am so fed up with These people I am on a personal crusade to discredit these people in an effort to bring this to the attention of Mr. Bill Gates himself.

    You all have a fine day and good luck.

  32. Mark Powell says:

    Well, it’s January 2009 now. Any update on the Mac version becoming available yet?

  33. Ray Fleming says:

    Hi Mark,

    Bad news: Sadly the Mac version has had some difficulty in making through the electronic download route of Ultimate Steal, so it’s not going to be available in this round of offers.

    Good news: You can buy it directly from two of our partners that sell directly to students.

    Both sell it at £34.70 (so that’s a better price too!)




  34. Mark Powell says:


    Those two partners do not sell to Open University students, only schools. This is why I was originally pointed in the direction of the Ultimate Steal in the first place by the OU.

    I would gladly pay £50 for the Mac version.

    Please, just because we don’t use Windows, why do you continuously penalise us Mac users?

  35. Mark Powell says:

    Apologies Ray,

    I’ve managed to find Open University in the institutions list of Software4Students. The RM website seems to only be for schools.



  36. pupski says:

    I have a pc, laptop and a net book would I only be able to install it on two? and will it run on both xp and vista?

  37. Ray Fleming says:

    Hi Pupski,

    The answer is a little further up in the comments:

    This licence is different from the retail version (which is labelled "Home & Student") as it contains much more – it is licensed in similar ways to the business versions. This means it is a single licence, which can be installed on a main computer, and a ‘companion’ computer – eg a laptop – used by the same person.

    The Home & Student version can be installed on 3 computers in the same household.

    In certain circumstances then, you might find the H&S licence better for you, but in most Ultimate Steal is still the best deal.

  38. Margit says:

    Hi Ray,

    I registered on The Ultimate Steal website today and got sent the confirmation e-mail that I am elegible to purchase from The Ultimate Steal, however when I submit my order with all the details then the website displays that an error_problem occured… SYS000006.

    Could you please advise why this might be and how to overcome this issue?

    Thank you in advance.


  39. Margit says:


    I have had problems with purchasing the Office Ultimate from The Ultimate Steal website. After submitting my order with all the required details an error message appears –

    Server Error


    Your data was not saved. Please try again. We apologise for this inconvenience.

    Error Number:  SYS_000006

    Could you please advise if and when this problem will be fixed?

    Thank you!


  40. Ray Fleming says:

    Hi Margit,

    Have you tried contacting the Ultimate Steal support team? (The link is at the bottom right of the web page at

    I’m afraid I can’t help directly, but they will be able to.


  41. Luke says:

    Hi Ray

    I love this deal which I purchased last year, ultimate has been fantastic on my last laptop. I now have a new laptop however and im trying to install ultimate on this machine which will count as my second device on single licence i presume. My difficulty is that the registration key was emailed to my college account last year which was reset for new collge year. I am trying to recover this code however i cant find it. I cant remember my order number either and my card i payed on has changed since then so i cant use digital river help. Could you offer any help on this matter? I really need to get office up and running asap

    Thanks for your help


  42. Ray Fleming says:

    Hi Luke,

    What a pickle.

    First, advice for everybody else – your licence key is like the keys to your front door – if you lose it, you can’t get it back easily. Which is why we (a) email it to you and (b) tell you to write it down somewhere safe (NOT on your computer!) just in case you want to re-install (or install on your laptop too).

    And for Luke – you’ve exhausted all the routes that would normally work (bizarre that your college kills your email inbox every year!). If you didn’t write the licence key down, and you didn’t email it onto another email inbox, and you can’t find your login to the site, or order number, or credit card, then I think your cheapest and quickest solution will be to buy another copy (which should be possible if you bought it LAST academic year). That’s actually cheaper than paying for support calls…


  43. dor says:

    im a little confused because first you said that you can install it on 2 computers but then you said you can install it on 3? so what exactly is it? im in college right now and so is my twin brother, we both have laptops and a main computer at home. so will i be able to install it on all 3?


  44. Ray Fleming says:

    Hi Dor,

    I think you’re confusing two different answers about two different versions of Office.

    The version you buy in a shop (Office Home & Student) allows you to install it on 3 computers in one household.

    The version on the Ultimate Steal website is a different version (it has many more packages in it) and allows you to install on one main computer, plus a companion laptop.

    So in your scenario, you and your brother would need to buy an Ultimate Steal version each OR buy one copy of the Home & Student version from a retailer.

    Hope that helps


  45. Sean says:

    I find myself in a similar situation as Luke. I backed up the file but I am at school without access to it. For the moment I am completely unable to locate the confirmation email. Does anyone know what address the confirmation email came from?

    Thanks in advance,


  46. Anton says:


    I’ve just baught the windows 7 professional and installed on my laptop. But i also use my pc at home just as much and wondered if I could upgrade that too from XP. The T&Cs says each student can only buy one license. Is it tough luck for me?


  47. Ray Fleming says:

    Hi Anton,

    Yes, unfortunately it is tough luck, because the offer is only a single licence – you can’t buy multiple licences. And you can only install on one PC.

    You may be able (if you’re quick) to get another copy from one of the student partners:


  48. Catherine says:

    I bought a copy of Office through this scheme in January 2009 and downloaded it to my PC. I now have a netbook and would also like to install Office on it. Can I use the same licence even though I got it last year?

    I am still at a university, but a different one with a different email account, but I still have a paper copy of the original invoice with the Product Key on.


  49. Ray Fleming says:

    Hi Catherine,

    yes, you can install it on your main PC, and also on a companion device, like a laptop or netbook. Simply go through the installation on your new laptop and register as you normally would (for which you’ll need the product key)

  50. Catherine says:

    Hi Ray,

    Thanks. That’s great news. How can I install it? Is there a download link I can use?



  51. Catherine says:

    Hi Ray

    If it’s not possible to publish the download link on this web page please could you email it to me at or tell me the name of the original download file on my pc and how to transfer it to my netbook.



  52. Ray Fleming says:

    Hi Catherine,

    There isn’t a public site that you can download it from – hopefully you’ll be able to find the download file on your original PC. It’s probably the only file that is more than one gigabyte in size!

    Once you’ve found it, I’d recommend taking a backup onto a DVD too.


Skip to main content