Dell is to become the first third-party vendor to offer Microsoft Office products for download, although the service will only be offered in the US.

Software applications include versions of the Office suite and its lower-end counterpart, Works, plus Word, Excel, Outlook and Groove, according to a search on Dell's Download Store. However, so far, the Microsoft products will only be available to US customers.

Prices are discounted from the suggested retail price. For example, Microsoft's suggested retail price for its Office Home and Student 2007 suite is $149.99, but Dell will sell it for $129.99.

Dell opened its Download Store in January and says 10,000 people visit it on average every week. Other vendor partners include McAfee, Nero, CA, Symantec and Webroot.

For people who have a problem with their PC, Dell will allow customers to download the software they have purchased again.

As for whether the service will be offered for non-US customers: a Dell spokeswoman said that the service was only available in the US now and "we will not speculate on whether it'll be expanded to other countries."