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Office 2010 – comparing the value of box and Product Key Card

A simple table showing how bad a choice the Office 2010 Product Key Card really is.

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Office Watch has already talked about the Office 2010 Product Key Card (PKC) purchase option and how it is quite different from the boxed product with the same name.

The main difference between the two is the number of computers you can install Office 2010 on.

For example. A retail box (aka Full Packaged Product – FPP) for Office 2010 Professional allows installation on TWO computers – a desktop and a portable computer.

The Product Key Card version of Office 2010 Professional only allows installation on ONE computer – and that has to be a computer with Office 2010 preinstalled by the computer maker.

In addition the retail box bundle allows the software to be moved to another computer (eg when you buy a replacement computer). The Product Key Card license cannot be transferred to a new computer.




Price per license

% increase

Retail Box (FPP)

Product Key Card

Retail Box (FPP) - transferable

Product Key Card – non-transferable

Retail Box (FPP)

Product Key Card


Home and Student








Home and Business

















  • The prices are the full retail amounts supplied by Microsoft in Jan. 2010.
  • The actual prices sold are likely to be lower but the proportions are expected to remain similar.

As you can see, the PKC option is considerably more expensive on a per license basis. It’s at least 40% more expensive and a whopping 140% more for the Home and Student edition.

The only way the Product Key Card option is worth it is in a very limited situation. A customer who has Office 2010 trial version installed on a new PC and is absolutely sure they’ll only ever use Office 2010 on that computer alone.

Since most people have multiple computers, either now or in the future the retail box options with multiple transferable licenses seems the better choice.

Article posted: Thursday, 07 January 2010

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