Thanks to Microsoft’s Software Assurance program, many companies with bulk licenses for Office won’t need to pay to upgrade to Office 2010. However, smaller businesses (as well as home users) who buy their software box by box are facing a significant sticker price to embrace the new and improved Office. But thanks to something of a loophole in Microsoft’s licensing rules, organizations with copies of Office 2003 may be able to save a lot of money by first upgrading to Office 2007 and then moving to 2010.
First, it helps to understand the differences between the licensing rules for Office 2007 and Office 2010. For Office 2007, Microsoft offers upgrade pricing, which means you can get a discount upgrading to certain versions of the suite if you’re running certain versions of Office 2003. With Office 2010, however, Microsoft has abandoned upgrade pricing. When you buy Office 2010 for a particular PC, it doesn’t matter at all whether that PC already has a validated copy of Office 2007 or 2003 or 3.1. There’s no discount.