Buy Office Ultimate 07 for $75, 6% of retail price
Bernard Oh spotted this Microsoft marketing campaign earlier this week for Office 2007. Don’t worry, I can’t get my head around this one too.

Recently, Microsoft Australia tried an unique marketing campaign aimed at Australian University students to help boost the sale of Microsoft Office and combat piracy amongst teens. It’s not cheating. The angle? Sell Office Ultimate 2007 cheap. Very cheap. Insanely cheap. offerAt only $75 Australian dollars (US$59) for an untimed license and $25 for a yearly license, Microsoft has truly lost it. In fact, I’d call them crazy. Why? Not because Microsoft is selling Office for under $100, or Microsoft selling a software on a subscription-model, but because the recommended retail price for Office Ultimate 2007 in Australia is $1,175.00. You don’t even need Excel to know that’s a discount of over $1,100 (94%).

Microsoft probably did this out of desperation because of such the large-scale and growing force of piracy within institutions like universities where high software prices forces students to seek alternatives. In fact only a few days ago, a lecturer at my university hinted at the idea of ‘acquiring software from friends’ which is a totally legitimate argument since universities alone cannot support technology for all of its students. Is this solution, to sell directly to students the most expensive version of Office ever released at a cost so low that it literally cries for attention, going to work?

I think this is a bomb waiting to explode. Why?

  • This promotes piracy, even worse, profiting from piracy. – Even if you sell the copy you buy at half the recommended retail price, which equates to $587.50, you can still make a profit of $512.50 (580% markup). It’s like robbing a convenience store only with an university email account and without any repercussions.
  • A spit in the face for everyone who bought copies of Office Home and Student 2007 previously – Imagine you bought yourself a copy of Home and Student legitimately on February 25 because you thought you were Mr. Nice Guy. Well, tough, luck since you just wasted $174 and you don’t even get Outlook.
  • A stab in the back to Microsoft retail partners – How are they suppose to compete with a $75 Office if Microsoft don’t even wholesale Home and Student at that price? They spend thousands of advertising dollars on promoting Home and Students to, you guessed it, students, only to be shot down by Microsoft themselves.
  • This doesn’t reflect well on the true value of (Office) software – If you hold Microsoft by the neck, will it spit out Windows Vista Ultimate for $5 too? If Microsoft can bare the guilt to sell Office Ultimate for $75, then how much is Office really worth? Maybe when an executive approved this, he/she knew they weren’t losing $1100 per copy.

Thinking of buying a copy and retiring? Hurry. Offer ends May 28. You will need an eligible university email address and some pocket change. Use Street Team code “MSP9” if you want someone (not me) to win brownie points.

Update: I wonder if this blog post qualifies for the “Golden Blog Awards”. It says winners will be judged on creativity, but I wonder if they accept opinions. I want that mobile phone. 😀

36 insightful thoughts

  1. I think I’ll be taking this offer up. It’s cheap, and although I have a free copy of Student and Teacher, I like Outlook and will pay for it.

  2. Yes, Long, since you are not interested in this opportunity, i suggest you can pass us your Uni ID, lol.

    Why complain, here is a awesome opportunity grab it with ya both hand and run, like ya arse is on fire.


  3. Actually this is not so nutty. Acadmeic versions of office has always been cheaper. Office Basic (which replaced student and teacher edition) is around $150 US. Also, universities can purchase volume liscensing for their students that will allow office installations. It breaks down around $75 U.S if not less per student. Most universities don’t take advantage of the licensing for students ( I am guessing because of the paperwork and the hassles on the tech dept). Microsoft with this offer is just skating around the University licensing agreement and going straight to the students. Same cost, just an opoortunity to make more money in sales by going direct to the student customer. Of course, why you would want to have Groove as a student is beyond me unless I am missing some larger strategy which is pitching the university to adapt groove into a Learning Gateway Envirionment.

  4. MSDNAA allows Vista (Business) to be obtained for free (or for a minimal disc charge) for many University students (Hey Long, any idea of Monash do MSDNAA? I sent an email to half a dozen staff who sent me on a wild goose chase about it…).

    A friend of mine who studies at QUT is able to download Vista from his university, but the most they have on MSDNAA in the way of office was Access 2003.
    Perhaps this is aimed at filling in where a lot of Australian Uni’s leave a gap?

  5. Hey Long, 🙂
    Nice graph of Hamad Darwish, I bet you have a Mac too, damn how come you’re so dissapointed with MS right now, I see a very big hangover to the left at the moment, how come ?

    Great site oc…

  6. @Paul:Which Monash campus are you from? The Caulfield and Clayton School of IT are subscribed to MSDNAA, which allows their students access to almost all of MS software for free(software buffet, I like to call that).

    Send me an email (t-berno @ ms) and I will try to hook you up with the right person.


  7. Here, in Malta, we have an offer from MS too! All students get both Windows Vista Ultimate, and Microsoft Office Ultimate 07 for USD 135 only. And a few years back we got Windows XP Pro, Office 03 and Visual Studio for USD 30 only.
    Both these offers were open to all people still studying (of all ages) along with teachers who are from Malta.

  8. I wish I was a student again. I wouldn’t mind trying out Vista but I’m not going to pay full price for a buggy piece of software.

  9. “This promotes piracy, even worse, profiting from piracy.”

    Good luck trying to sell an .exe file with a legit key on ebay for more than $100. Why? Even though it is legit/genuine software, its hard to convince someone that they are getting the real deal when all they are getting is an trial exe with a cdkey that unlocks to full functionality. It just sounds like your selling a cdkey from a generator or something.

  10. @Henry: Even if you sell it on eBay, selling CD-keys are still trustworthy and legitimate. In fact, I’d buy all my game CD-keys online if people had them closer to release.

    In fact, the whole online software distribution service is moving towards that market anyway. No one cares about boxes and CDs anymore. As long as the key works, that’s all it matters.

  11. I tottaly disagree with you i think this is a great idea and is not a bomb on the contrary i think it is a great idea to stop would be pirates to go legit.

    You cant allways be negative about these things.

    Also the retail licence is for 3 comps this is for only one.

    There will be people who missuse and take advantage of every situation.

    I commend microsoft for doing something to help students out and if you don’t see it that way.

    Give someone your student id so they cant benifit.

    You know not everyone is wealthy and can afford office, this gives those ppl the oportunity to be on a level playing field.


    PS: You blog is great keep up the good work, make sure you keep up with Aussie articles because we aussies need to stick together

  12. @Paul,

    Paul, I don’t know which faculty you’re in, but I’m at Clayton doing engineering (who is also a member of MSDNAA) and getting software from them is a huge hassle. Emailing the faculty got me an email saying that I was ineligible – MSDNAA software is ONLY available if it is directly related to your unit, and requested by your lecturer.

    I didn’t believe them, so I sent some emails around Microsoft, and finally got hold of the right person. Even so its still an absolute pain trying to get anything from them because they make you feel like an annoying idiot by telling you they’re only doing it out of the kindness of their heart – you need a staff member to request normally. You need to sign some forms too. Apparently its in the MSDNAA agreement – I never did get a proper response from Microsoft about this.

    And now apparently they don’t get CDs sent to them anymore (all electronic distribution) so you have to annoy them even more to download and get the discs.

    I heard its easier to get stuff for IT students, which is ridiculous.

    If you’re at the Clayton campus, and studying engineering, I can give you the name of the guy responsible for administering MSDNAA – just drop me a comment on my blog or contact me from that.

    Oh and here’s my blog post about what’s wrong with this offer, though from a different angle:

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  14. Why is it that this is an offer for Australian students, but when I enter my details in the Billing Information section it lists US states and Canadian Provinces in the State/Province section and I have to select “*Non-US”?

  15. There are often students enrolled in Australian universities but they pay using an overseas credit card (and billing address). For example, a parent/family-member/friend buys the software for the student; or an international student; or a student enrolled in an Australian Uni but attending an offshore campus (eg. UNSW in Singapore).

  16. Yeah it’s great huh, but unless your me, where you fork out around 300$ for home & student + outlook, then the next day discover microsoft just anounced this… and yes I am a australian uni student… I’ve rung microsoft plus the people i’ve bought it from, and because i’ve already installed the software, i can’t return it… Any ideas from you people on what I can do? Thanks.

  17. Just last weekend a business consultant was telling me that MS Office 2007 is excellent, (Vista a nightmare), but there’s no point recommending it to his clients yet because no one has it – and therefore there is a compatibility issue when emailing files to others with older software.

    This cheap software offer to students is actually a great way for microsoft to get high uptake of their new software without undermining their core professional buyers. Obviously few students could afford the full professional price – a price that is mostly only paid by businesses who use the software for commercial uses. This is why, even without this super cheap deal, MS sells the education edition for significantly less than the $1k+ price you quote ($211.65 for Office 2007 Home and Student;OR $254.15 for Office 2007 Professional Academic).

    But, I’d say the super cheapness comes down less to the goodness of their heart and more to their need to quickly standardise Office 2007 as the normal platform without undermining their high paying customer base. Bloody good idea if you ask me.

  18. I agree 100% with Luci.
    If only they can do that also with vista premium!
    I just installed and activated office, and can’t wait until they want to ‘standardize’ also vista!
    But unfortunately looks like it not gonna happen as the computers that are being sold now are being sold with vista. 🙁
    Well i guess you can only hope…

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  20. I feel bad for all of you who have to pay for software I go to Univ of Pittsburgh and they give us Office 07 premium and Vista premium for free along with other software.

  21. This is nothing really… check out They are giving away SQL Developer version, MSVS 2005 Pro and MSVS 2008 Pro, Windows Server 2003 R2, and a 1 year sub to XNA…

  22. I bought Microsoft Home and Student 2007. IT quit working and will not repair because Microsoft themselves blocked permission. Then, I am attending College, and still am, I got Microsoft Office Enterprise and the same thing happened. Microsoft blocked it from downloading 2 registry keys when I tried to repair it. Why is Microsoft blocking all this when I paid for both versions out of my pocket. I am teed off at Microsoft. I am in class now and have to use Microsoft Office 2007 but cannot since Microsoft is blocking the download of the registry keys. I do not know what to do?

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