This may shock you to your very core, but Microsoft charges way too much for its software. I mean, $679.95 for Office Ultimate 2007? Really? Even the upgrade version (for anyone who was crazy enough to splurge on Office 2003) runs a jaw-dropping $539.99.
Yo, Microsoft! Reality is calling. Pick up the phone!
Fortunately, there are alternatives. As I mentioned in "Six Free Software Programs You Need Right Now," Lotus Symphony offers many of the same core features as Office--but costs nothing.
Of course, sometimes you need the real McCoy, especially if you're a student. If you are, and have a valid e-mail address to prove it, you can get Microsoft Office Ultimate 2007 for just $59.95.
While you're at it, grab the Windows 7 Professional Upgrade for just $64.95. (Price for non-students: $199.99.)
Both deals are part of a Microsoft promotion called The Ultimate Steal--and at those prices, "steal" is the right word. Heck, even I consider $59.95 a fair price for Office Ultimate. (As for Windows 7, well, $64.95 is reasonable, though I'd sure like to see it below $50.)
But wait, there's more: If you order Office 2007 prior to September, 2010, you'll get a free upgrade to Office 2010 when it becomes available (most likely in June).
To see if you're eligible for the deal, visit the Ultimate Steal site, click Buy Now, and then enter your college/university e-mail address. In short order you'll get an e-mail with the link you need to order your discounted software.