Microsoft is cutting the retail price of its Office XP Standard and Professional software suites and that of several stand-alone Office applications.
From today the estimated price at US retail outlets for a full licence for Office XP Professional will fall from $599 (£366) to $499, and for Office XP Standard from $479 to $399.
The company also discounted the stand-alone versions of Word 2002, Excel 2002, PowerPoint 2002 and Access 2002. The estimated retail price for those products will drop from $339 to $229, Microsoft said. The prices are estimates because the retailers set final prices.
The discounts come as Microsoft continues to work on Office 2003, the successor to Office XP. The code for the new version is planned for release to CD manufacturers in the third quarter.
The discounting is unrelated to the introduction of Office 2003 later this year. Pricing for Office 2003 has not been finalised but is expected to be the same as that of Office XP, said Dan Leach, lead product manager for Office at Microsoft.
The price reductions take effect today in the US and Canada and will be rolled out around the world as subsidiaries implement their normal currency, pricing and other local retail adjustments. The process can take up to two months, although some subsidiaries may sell at the new lower prices from the outset.
Prices for upgrade versions of the software, Outlook 2002, Office XP Standard for Students and Teachers and Office XP Developer will not be reduced.
Joris Evers writes for IDG News Service