New versions of Microsoft Office always generate licensing interest from the channel. Like Windows Vista, Microsoft is shipping Office in a variety of suite-based configurations. Here is the most recent 2007 Microsoft Office version and pricing information.
2007 Microsoft Office products, editions and availability
- Microsoft Office Basic 2007: A basic edition of Office containing only Word, Excel and Outlook. This edition won't be sold on store shelves and will only be available through original equipment manufacturers (OEMs), offering a great way to bundle a cheap version of genuine Office software with your system.
- Microsoft Office Home and Student 2007: This edition builds on the success of the Student and Teacher version of Office 2003, and adds PowerPoint and OneNote to the compendium of Office Basic while removing Outlook. It will have general retail availability. This version will retail for $149.
- Microsoft Office Standard 2007: Office Standard is the same as Home and Student, but without OneNote. It's essentially the baseline business edition of Office, which will be available to everyone. The full version of this edition will retail at $399, with upgrades at $239.
- Microsoft Office Small Business 2007: Office Small Business contains Word, Excel, PowerPoint, Publisher and Outlook with the Business Contact Manager add-in for a simple CRM solution used by tiny businesses. It rivals the current Small Business edition available today. This version will retail at $499, with the upgrade version weighing in at $279.
- Microsoft Office Professional 2007: This suite edition is essentially the sweet spot, containing Word, Excel, PowerPoint, Publisher, Access and Outlook with the Business Contact Manager. This version will cost $679 at full retail; an upgrade version will be available for $329.
- Microsoft Office Ultimate 2007: Ultimate rivals Windows Vista Ultimate in that it includes every Office product except Office Communicator for phone and IM unification support. The Ultimate edition, the most inclusive package generally available at retail, will cost $679 for the full version and $539 for the upgrade version.
- Microsoft Office Professional Plus 2007: Only available through volume licensing, this edition includes large-business-specific support, like InfoPath, content management, information rights management (IRM) and policy enforcement capabilities, as well as Office Communicator for phone and IM unification support.
- Microsoft Office Enterprise 2007: This edition, also only available through volume licensing, adds Groove 2007 and OneNote to the suite of programs included in the Professional Plus edition.
The following individual Office programs will be generally available to the public and presumably available to system builders to bundle with their systems:
- Project Standard and Professional
- SharePoint Designer
- Visio Standard and Professional
You will also find Office server products, but they are only available through volume licensing programs and likely of little interest to system vendors and OEMs.
Bundling issues of note
Microsoft announced at the Worldwide Partner Conference in July that OEMs will be able, and in fact encouraged, to preinstall a free 60-day trial edition of Office. However, which versions that trial will include is unclear at this point. They will also be encouraged to sell an unlock key that would activate the trial copy into a fully licensed version. Most major OEMs already had a similar program in place for Office 2003.
From a system builder's perspective, Office Basic or Home and Student 2007 seem to have the most value for the buck. Office Basic is a cheap way to include Outlook with your systems, while Home and Student includes PowerPoint and OneNote -- both useful for the home user and teacher -- but without Outlook. Windows Vista's built-in Windows Mail application is sufficient for the vast majority of home email users, so the loss of Outlook is nothing too great. Office Basic could suit small business just fine, depending on their needs.
You will be able to obtain copies of Office 2007 through OEM channels early next year. According to Microsoft, "Retail and OEM availability of the product are scheduled to coincide with the retail and OEM availability of the Windows Vista operating system in January 2007."
About the author: Jonathan Hassell is an author, consultant and speaker residing in Charlotte, North Carolina. Jonathan's books include RADIUS, Learning Windows Server 2003, Hardening Windows and most recently Windows Vista: Beyond the Manual. His work is seen regularly in popular periodicals such as Windows IT Pro Magazine, SecurityFocus, PC Pro and Microsoft TechNet Magazine. He speaks around the world on topics including Windows administration, networking and security.