Eric Lai

Microsoft Office for 91 percent off!

By Eric Lai
May 08, 2008 3:11 PM EDT

The New York Times' Bits tech blog is reporting that anyone with a .edu e-mail address, whether they are a current student or not, can buy Microsoft Office Ultimate for $60, or 91% off until May 16.

This follows on our story that Microsoft Corp. failing to close a year-old loophole that allows Windows Vista upgraders to install the $140-cheaper upgrade version even if they don't own a full (not OEM) copy of Windows XP.

For a company that is supposedly so tough on piracy and intent on enforcing its complicated, confusing licensing rules, I found two things interesting about this scenario:

1) The Web site to purchase Office Ultimate at a discount is called "The Ultimate Steal."

2) Microsoft's senior VP in charge of Office Chris Capossela confirmed to the Times that anyone with a .edu e-mail address is eligible for the discount. Most colleges and universities grant their alumni graduates .edu e-mail addresses.

The Web site does say that individuals need to be at a U.S. school and "be actively enrolled in at least 0.5 course credit and be able to provide proof of enrollment upon request." (my emphasis)

I don't have an alumni e-mail address from either of my institutions of higher learning (Pomona College, UC Berkeley) and no pressing need for Office Ultimate 2007, so wasn't able to check how rigorously Microsoft is checking IDs. Anyone have a report they can share?

Coincidentally - or perhaps not - the beta of 3.0 was released on the Web yesterday.

Version 3 includes native Mac OS X capability (earlier versions use an inferior, rougher way to display graphics).