Microsoft upgrade trick could save $$$

Just when you think you have everything in order, another new Microsoft release comes out and you are faced with the decision of whether or not to upgrade or just stick with what you have installed. The option of upgrading to the new Office 2010 has many organizations pondering whether or not they really need it, and can sacrifice the costs to do so, especially considering the current economic climate.

For those organizations that have Software Assurance (SA), you are in luck. You may not need to pay to upgrade as its part of your SA contract. Those that opted out of SA, or smaller businesses that are buying their software from the local Staples of Office Depot are facing a significant spend to upgrade. There is, however, a loop hole. Yes, a Microsoft loop hole! If you currently have Office 2003, you should consider upgrading to Office 2007, and then to Office 2010. Because Office 2007 offers upgrade pricing, which gives you a discount not available with Office 2010, you could save as much as $200 per installation.

If you want to upgrade from Office 2003 to Office 2010, you have to buy, install, and validate a copy of Office 2007. Then you will get a free upgrade from Office 2007 to Office 2010. So, you can move from 2003 to 2010 for the discounted cost of moving from 2003 to 2007. The only downside is all the extra installation time and effort.

Two things to watch out for when considering this move on the licensing front – pay attention to each version and the licensing terms. You may need to buy a specific version of 03 and/or 07 in order to qualify for the right free upgrade. If you really want to upgrade, and save some money while doing so, make sure you have copies of Office 2007 handy, or get them while the getting is good!

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