Monday, February 4, 2013

Office 2013 costs just $9.95USD for some.

Often in IT I see things which give some people a considerable advantage over others. Microsoft appears to have a Home Use program whereby large corporations can supply staff members with a copy of Office for next to nothing, whereas others have to pay hundreds of dollars more. The following article relates to an offer in the States, but I suspect there are similar offers available in Australia.

Over the years as a business I’ve had to pay a considerable amount for my software only to find often I’m competing with others from government or companies who have obtained their software for a fraction of the price. In theory these people can’t use their software for commercial purposes, but the reality is the licence would unlikely ever be enforced. For example I could only guess at how many tertiary education licences are being used to generate income on the side.

For me the disconcerting aspect is the disadvantage some parents face when they send their children to school. The teachers often lease a computer for a very large discount so their families have cheap access to software and computers. Government and corporations’ staff often have access to low cost software. I recall a CSIRO staff member had to pay $42 for their copy of Office compared to the hundreds I had to pay. Those who are self-employed or work for a small business have no such advantage and are faced with paying the full price. There is a definite have and have nots situation with around half of the community faced with very large costs for software ownership, whereas the other half get incredible deals.

For those who are fortunate enough to work for a large company or government body you should check out whether or not there is special pricing on Microsoft software available to you as a staff member. Given that half the people generally have access to special deals, it means the other half will often have to buy the same software so if that is you, shop around and look for the lowest cost deals which suit you. For one company years ago I suggested they purchase copies of Microsoft Word for all users, but only the other applications for those who really used them. This saved the company tens of thousands of dollars. Over time then as new computers were purchased they were able to purchase the cheaper OEM version of Office with new computers. Other businesses use open source software and buy only the commercial software they ‘must’ have. Microsoft and other commercial vendors often provide good free software and also don’t forget there are free web based applications often good for light use.

Do keep in mind you can waste a lot of time sometimes saving a little amount of money. In one case I used and it corrupted my Microsoft Access data so any saving was greatly outweighed by the cost of recovering the lost data. On quite a few occasions Firefox has caused links in emails to fail resulting in costly support bills for clients which doesn’t make sense, since all the browsers are free so selecting open source software over a commercial software where there was no business reason simply didn’t make sense.  Determine your needs and then determine the software which can meet your needs, but also factor into account long term use and potential risks.
Kelvin Eldridge
Call 0415 910 703 for computer support.
Servicing Doncaster, Templestowe, Eltham and the surrounding area.

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