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 university students with 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 university staff, if they have a email address

Most students arrive on your campus with a laptop computer, but 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, most 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, as they come back onto campus.

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 university – many universities 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 (24)

  1. Kevin says:

    Thanks so much for this! I was gutted last year because the offer ended months before I was due to get my place sorted, but now I can get it anyway!

  2. Matt says:

    I tried to purchase this, but after confirming my order & shipping address, it redirects me to a page saying "Your shopping cart is empty".

    The only thing that I can think of is that the first time I tried to order the product, I used paypal and got as far as entering my paypal details though unfortunately the transaction failed (paypals fault). I got an email from digital river saying that they hadn’t recieved payment from paypal and that "If you still desire these items, please place a new order. If you wish to place a new order, please click on the link below to return to the store"


    Any ideas?

  3. Robson says:

    I’m a University of Bradford student and I’ve had exactly the same problem as Matt. I can’t pay with PayPal or with my credit card on any machine. Ultimate Steal support have been useless – "delete your cookies" did nothing.

    I’ve never been so desperate to buy software before but I really need to get Office 2007 before my course properly starts next week.


  4. Ray Fleming says:


    Whilst I can’t be a support desk for Ultimate Steal (that’s what the "Customer Support" tag on the Ultimate Steal website is for

    what I can do is escalate a problem that you’ve raised with them, and they’ve not been able to fix.

    I can’t get contact details from your comments (normally that’s a good thing, from a personal information point of view), so drop me a line using the "Email" button at the top of the page, and I’ll help as much as I can, and escalate appropriately.


  5. rscott says:

    I was delighted to see that Ultimate Steal this year includes Vista Ultimate and Visio. But why do you keep pushing back the date when these will be available? You’ve changed it twice already.

    It’s now 31 Oct (from 24 Oct).

  6. Dominic says:

    I’m sorry you’ve had to contact us about this because we are aiming to "delight" and I sincerely regret any delays to the introduction of new prodcuts.  I’m not certain why the release of Vista and Visio seems to have moved but I do know that once they are available demand will be high and we need to be certain that the service is fully able to cope.

  7. rscott says:

    Morning – maybe I’m impatient, but it’s 31 Oct (Happy Halloween) and there’s no sign on the Ultimate Steal website about how to buy Vista. It’s still saying available on that date, but no links and nothing on the Digital River site.

    Is it happening later today?

  8. rscott says:

    Oh dear. I did try again over today and found that Vista Ultimate is available for download and so paid the money and got links.

    Big but – the links don’t work and I cannot download the software. I followed the links from the website to find someone to report the problem to, and spoke with Microsoft support. They refused to help claiming it was nothing to do with them – and they would only help if I purchased a physical DVD of the software (not a download).

    Bigger but – the website which allows you to go back to an order and redown the files doesn’t work either. Vista requires three files downloaded, and only lists one of them.

    Very disappointed – particularly by the unhelpful Microsoft support people.

  9. rscott says:

    I’ve returned home now and there’s an additional problem with the Vista download from Ultimate Steal. This must be affecting everyone, so it’s difficult to understand why my emails have gone unanswered, and why the problem hasn’t been fixed.

    The Vista download requires 3 files, but the only way I can get to my order now I’m home is through the website, and that only lists one of the files. So, I cannot get two of them and have no product to install.

    Is anyone else having all these problems with the Vista download?

  10. Bez says:

    And now its 1st November and Vista still isnt available… despite saying the 31st! Suppose we could wait for Windows 7 Ultimate Steal… 😉

  11. rscott says:

    (I’m a bit bothered that none of my comments are getting published – the points I’m raising are pretty important and will affect everyone purchasing Vista.)

    Worse still is that no one is accepting responsibility for the problems and providing any support.

    I got this after completing the email help form on the ‘Ultimatesteal’ website:

    "We apologize for the inconvenience, unfortunately, the Ultimate Steal online store is not equipped to offer technical advice. Due to this, we request you to please contact the Technical Support Department at the



    Unfortunately, I’d spent 20 mins on the phone to Microsoft last week about this issue and they refused to provide any help saying it was nothing to do with them.

    There appears to be quite a large gap in the way support is arranged for the Ultimatesteal.

    Particularly unfortunate is that ‘Ultimatesteal’ will take on a more literal meaning if Digital River continue to take money off customers without providing the links to download the software. It is contrary to trade law in the UK.

  12. Ray Fleming says:

    "rscott" – can you drop me an email (using the link at the top of the page) so that I can contact you and escalate your queries to the team. Unfortunately, from your comments on the blog, I don’t have your contact details, so I can’t get anybody to help you.



  13. Matt says:

    Just wanted to post an update on my problem.  After two months of emails with their support I’ve *finally* managed to buy TUS and it’s downloading as I type (97% :D).  

    Just want to say thanks to Rayfl and Gordon, without whom I’d probably still be pulling my hair out.

    For the record, they solved my problem by creating a new account for me with one of their email address’.



  14. Ian says:

    hi, i purchased the vista upgrade from the ultimate steal last night, but i only got to download one file which tells me it requires another 2 files which i cannot find, anyone able to help with this?

  15. MTB says:

    I have exactly the same problem – it only provides one file for the Vista download when I need three. I’ve emailed them about this but obviously it’s illegal to take someone’s money without providing the product in return.

  16. Ray Fleming says:

    Hi MTB – you say "you’ve emailed about this" – if you’ve still not had a response from the support team within 24 hours, drop me a note using the "email" link at the top of the page (I can’t contact you otherwise)


  17. Chris Miller says:

    Good price – not that I want to be rude about your hard work, but for any private individual not using Office to make money, £40 sounds about right. I imagine big PC makers pay about the same for the OEM copies they supply with new PCs?

    Could something be added to the FAQ explaining what happens if buyers change their PC and need to move Office to the new one? Will they need to phone in to activate – or does it not work at all after the first two installs?

  18. dctuck says:


    I’ve signed up for the Ultimate Steal, and received my login URL email. However, whenever I click on Login on the webpage, I get nothing but error messages, saying "Error: We are unable to perform the selected action. We apologise for the inconvenience. Error number: SIT_000002", then further down the page, it says "Error: We are unable to process your request at this time. Please accept our apologies for this inconvenience. Error number: SYS_000003"

    I emailed Digital River, who sent me a standard set of instructions for deleting cookies, which I had already tried, but it is still not working. I have been trying for 4 days to sort this.

    Any thoughts?!



  19. Mike b says:

    As Daniel above I receive the same errors. I’ve emailed and had no response so far. I’ve tried on two machines and four browsers so it is hardly a cookie issue.

    Luckily I’ve paid nothing so far and reading the above, it’s a good job I haven’t. The Ultimate Steal indeed! Yes but not in the consumer’s favour it appears!

    As the old saying goes it appears. If it sounds too good to be true then it is!

  20. JeffL says:


    Somewhat circuitous question.  I am a US citizen studying at a UK university.  As part of my studies, I am back in the US on a field assignment for the semester.  I would like to purchase the Ultimate steal – Which store do I use while in the US – the US or UK store? (I have and use only my email address)

    Thank you for any help on this.


  21. Dominic says:

    Jeff sorry about the delay in responding.  Please refer to this page:

    for details on eligibility.

  22. Dominic says:

    Mike B,

    it’s regrettable that you seem to have had some difficulties.  Comments like yours are the exception and I’m pleased to say that we’ve managed to delight pretty much everybody so far.

  23. Tony Sutton says:

    This year’s Ultimate Steal has a different URL – – can you please confirm that member of staff who holds an email address still can apply for it?

    I can’t find any post here ab out this year’s Ultimate Steal.


  24. Ray Fleming says:

    Hi Tony,

    Yes, the criteria this year is the same as last year – it’s detailed on the "eligibility" tab the relevant offer page


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