Some sellers have raised the price of Office 2010's lowest-cost multi-license package after Microsoft discontinued retail sales of the suite.
Giant online retailer Amazon.com, for example, now lists what Microsoft called the "Full Packaged Product" (FFP) of Office Home & Student 2010 at $170, $20 higher than the former list price, representing a 13% surcharge.
Another seller on the site pegged Home & Student 2010 at $250, or 67% above list.
But Amazon also sells Office Home & Business 2010 for $278 and Office Professional for $400, or 1% and 20% under list, respectively.
Before Microsoft discontinued Office 2010, the FFPs of Home & Student listed for $150, Home & Business for $280 and Professional for $500.
Not every vendor has followed Amazon's example. CDW, for instance, charges $140 for Home & Student 2010, a 7% discount, $248 for Home & Business 2010 (11% off list) and $489 for Professional 2010 (2% below list price).
Those Office 2010 FFP SKUs (stock keeping units) remain interesting to some buyers because they come with rights to install the suite on multiple Windows PCs. The FFP of Home & Student, for example, can be installed on up to three systems in a household, while Home & Business and Professional allow up to two installations on a user's PCs, a desktop and a notebook, for example.
That's different than Office 2013, which Microsoft launched in late January. All three of the comparable retail SKUs of Office 2013 allow only one installation each.
Microsoft dropped multi-license packs to make the "perpetual" licenses -- the traditional kind that are paid for once and can be used as long as the customer wants -- of Office 2013 less attractive when compared to the new Office 365 software-by-subscription plans the company is aggressively marketing.
To replicate the three licenses of Home & Student 2010, potential purchasers of Office 2013 would have to spend $420 on three separate copies of Home & Student 2013, or subscribe to Office 365 Home Premium, a $100 per year plan that lets customers run the suite only as long as they continue to make annual payments.
Equipping two PCs with Home & Business 2013 would cost $440, and two copies of Professional 2013 would run the buyer $800. Alternately, businesses can subscribe to Office 365 plans that start at $150 per year per user, and climb as high as $240 per user per year.
Microsoft no longer sells Office 2010 on its own online market. A sales representative there confirmed that the suite has been discontinued. Third-party retailers, however, are continuing to sell from their in-hand stock.
While Microsoft spells out what it calls "end of sales" policies for Windows -- where it stops retail sales a year after the release of a newer edition, and tells computer makers to stop pre-installing the older version another year later -- it does not do the same for Office.
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