A day before Microsoft's Office 2010 goes on sale, some online retailers have discounted the new suite by as much as $40.
Although Microsoft has no plans to promote the new office suite with special deals, retail partners are free to run their own sales, a Microsoft spokeswoman said by e-mail.
As of Monday afternoon, Amazon.com listed the lowest-priced edition, Office 2010 Home and Student, for $129.99, $20 less than the list $149.99. Another online outlet, Newegg.com, listed the three-license home edition for the same $129.99.
Amazon's prices for Office 2010 (see review) Home and Business and Office 2010 Professional were $40 less than list price, or $239.99 and $459.99, respectively. Newegg matched those prices as well.
Also set to debut Tuesday are lower-priced "key cards," a new way Microsoft will sell Office. The cards, which contain a single-license product key, can be used to upgrade older versions of Office or activate a trial edition or copy that's been downloaded from Microsoft.
A key card can also upgrade a copy of Office Starter, the new stripped-down version that OEMs preinstall on new PCs, to a full edition.
In January, Microsoft announced that it was dumping upgrade pricing, a long-standing hallmark of Office's retail price structure, and said the key cards would replace the discounted upgrades.
A one-license key card for Office 2010 Home and Student, for example, will run $119, with Home and Business cards priced at $199. Office 2010 Professional's cards will cost $349.
From the discounted prices now available at Amazon and Newegg, it appears Microsoft's retail partners are not allowed to drop prices of the disc-based editions below those of the corresponding editions' key cards.
Microsoft officially launched Office 2010 at a New York event on May 12. Business customers with volume license agreements have been able to obtain the new suite since then.
Gregg Keizer covers Microsoft, security issues, Apple, Web browsers and general technology breaking news for Computerworld. Follow Gregg on Twitter at @gkeizer or subscribe to Gregg's RSS feed . His e-mail address is firstname.lastname@example.org.