Deadline rapidly approaching to upgrade to Office 2010 for free

September 2, 2010 at 3:04 pm

Update as of October 2, 2010:   The “Technology Guarantee” program expired at the end of September. The next deadline to be aware of is the October 31, 2010 expiration of the Office 2010 beta.  See this brief post and the link contained therein. I am planning to write a longer post sometime in the next few days about obtaining a full retail version of Office 2010 (or, if you prefer, an individual component of the Office 2010 suite, such as Word 2010 — which in fact is sold separately from the other programs in the suite).

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Microsoft’s “Technology Guarantee” program, which enables people who buy certain versions of Office 2007 during a prescribed time period this year to upgrade to Office 2010 for free, expires on September 30, 2010 (i.e., at the end of this month). To be eligible, you must purchase — and also install and activate — a “qualifying version” of Office 2007 by that date.[1] If you’re interested, be sure to read the details and place your order fairly soon, especially if you plan to buy the software from Amazon or another online store (in other words, you’ll need to allow extra time for shipping).

Although the offer appears somewhat complicated because of all of the fine print, it’s actually a pretty good deal. For specifics, including information about which versions of Office 2007 qualify for the free upgrade, see Microsoft’s Technology Guarantee FAQ page. Also, take a look at this article on the Office Watch web site, as well as a couple of related articles (there are links below the first article). According to Office Watch, at least one of the qualifying upgrades — from Office 2007 Ultimate, Professional, or Small Business to Office Professional 2010 — can save you roughly $175.

Essentially, there are a few things to be aware of:

  • As mentioned above, only certain versions of Office 2007 qualify. Most legitimate, new versions of the suite are eligible; used versions (and versions sold on eBay) are not. Also, you must buy the software from an authorized seller.
  • The offer doesn’t apply to all language versions.
  • You will need Internet access, and in particular, a Windows Live account, in order to register the software.
  • You’ll need to confirm your purchase date and your product ID, so hold onto (and keep handy) any sales receipt or other proof-of-purchase document you receive when you buy the software, as well as your product key.
  • You can take advantage of the tech upgrade up to 25 times — i.e., you can buy up to 25 copies of qualifying Office 2007 products and upgrade each for free — but you will receive only one copy of Office 2010 for each copy of Office 2007 you purchase (and install and activate) between now and September 30, 2010.
  • No refunds are available with this offer.
  • Upgrading from a qualifying Office 2007 product you buy, install, and activate by September 30, 2010 is free if you download a comparable version of Office 2010. If you prefer, you can order a disk, but Microsoft imposes a fee for a copy on disk.[2] Also, if you request a disk, you might not receive it by the September 30 deadline, so downloading is probably preferable (unless Microsoft will allow you do both, which is unclear from a reading of the terms and conditions in the FAQ).

Before taking action, it’s essential to read the fine print on Microsoft’s Technology Guarantee FAQ page. This blog post merely highlights the main features of the offer.

Also, when deciding which version of Office 2010 you want, make sure to choose a version that will run on your computer.  After you’ve established that the version you have in mind is compatible with your hardware, you’ll need to determine which Office 2007 product(s) will upgrade to that version under the tech guarantee.

And, as Office Watch recommends, check prices (and availability) carefully before making a purchase.

Once you’ve got the details worked out, take care to buy the software far enough in advance so that you can install and activate it by September 30, 2010.


[1] You actually can request the free upgrade through October 31, 2010, but you will have to buy, install, and activate the software by September 30 in order to qualify.

[2] I don’t know how much Microsoft charges for a disk copy.

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