Microsoft slashes product prices by 80%

Legalise your softwareMicrosoft Malaysia has launched a program which caters specifically to higher education students and offers its most popular products for up to 80% off the retail price. The program is very much similar to the one currently being held in the US (details here) but has even more products listed than the American counterpart.

The list includes home software like Microsoft Encarta 2008, Office 2007 Pro, Visio Pro 2007, Expression series and also upgrades to Vista Business and Ultimate. The Vista Ultimate upgrade seems pretty worth it since an OEM version already costs around RM700 and retail boxed versions running well over RM1000 whilst Office Pro OEM is around RM800. Heck! Encarta is going for a measly RM48 (approx US$15).

So whats the catch? Well, the offer is open SOLELY to students studying in local IPTAs (Institut Pengajian Tinggi Awam or Government-based Higher Education Institutes) because they have to purchase and register their details at their local Kedai Kooperasi in order to get their software (full physical media supposedly included). Each student is only allowed to purchase one (1) license for each listed product and each license will be registered to the student's name. More details about this offer and the complete list of participating IPTAs and available software is available here.

Hmm ... last year Microsoft Malaysia distributed for free, full versions of Vista Business at my workplace (and WinXP four years before that) and I thought that was pretty neat although I had to queue for nearly 2 hours. Both offers seem to benefit Microsoft in more than one way - in decreasing pirated software in educational institutes and also increasing its customer base in IHLs, many of which are now turning to open source options to do research and development. We'll just have to wait and see how the campaign works out.

BTW, how many people realise that most of their campuses actually purchase open licenses for their software and students are often provided copies (either downloaded or through a drop-by install facility) to use on their own desktops? Ask around and you may be surprised. UM and MMU provides this but not many actually know about it ... go figure :P

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