Amazon UK has started offering the consumer versions of Microsoft's next Office productivity suite for sale on its website. Amazon states that the Office suite will launch on 30 June and is offering a three-user Home and Student version for £109.99.
A single-user version of Microsoft Office 2010 Home and Business will cost £239 while the Professional version will cost a mighty £429.
On 19 April Microsoft announced the code for the productivity suite was complete and signalled it was now ready for RTM (release to manufacturing). On Thursday last week, it began offering the code via its MSDN and TechNet, with digital delivery to business customers via its volume licensing programme beginning yesterday.
The official launch date for the business editions is 12 May. However, the software giant has been keeping mum about the exact date consumers will be able to buy off-the-shelf copies.
Not for the first time, Amazon appears to have broken ranks and listed a Microsoft product for preorder with more details than expected. It's possible, of course, that Amazon is hedging its bets over the onsale date of Microsoft Office 2010 or that Microsoft and Amazon are merely managing customer expectations by listing the end of the month as the delivery date for the software.
In the meantime, customers who buy the current version of Office can do so for a lower price and then upgrade to the new suite for free. Presumably this way, Microsoft gets to hail Office 2007 as a success and then also laud the installed base for Office 2010 further down the line.
Consumers who aren't sure whether or not to take the plunge can enjoy a free peek at Office 2010 by downloading the time-limited public beta version of Office 2010 from the Microsoft website.