A few months ago we were racking our brains trying to figure out what a reasonable price would be for a subscription-based version of Microsoft Office Home & Student 2007. In the end I estimated that Microsoft would charge at least $5 per month, but probably not more than $10 per month. The software suite itself retails for about $150, but with a little shopping around you can find it for about $110.

Good news. Today Microsoft announced that in the middle of July 2008 over 700 Circuit City stores around the United States will be selling their subscription-based product dubbed Microsoft Equipt. With it you get full access to Microsoft Office Home & Student 2007 in addition to the Windows Live OneCare antivirus software. The price? It will be $69 per year, which works out to just $5.75 per month. Not too bad considering you’ll always get the latest version of Office and OneCare as part of the subscription.

Here are some screenshots of what the service will look like:

(Click to Enlarge)
microsoft equipt 1.jpg microsoft equipt 2.jpg microsoft equipt 3.jpg microsoft equipt 4.jpg microsoft equipt 5.jpg microsoft equipt 6.jpg

Naturally I began crunching some numbers to see whether this was as good of a deal as you might think it is. As I mentioned earlier you can go buy Microsoft Office Home & Student 2007 for $110, and OneCare is already a subscription based program that will cost about $30 per year (MSRP is $50 a year). So the real value depends on how long you’ll have Office 2007 for. Here’s a breakdown for you:

If you have Microsoft Office Home & Student 2007 for [insert number of years] before upgrading it will cost…

  • [1 year] = $30 + $110 = $140 per year
  • [2 years] = $30 + $110/2 = $85 per year
  • [3 years] = $30 + $110/3 = $67 per year
  • [4 years] = $30 + $110/4 = $58 per year

What does this all mean? If Microsoft releases a new version of Office at least every three years (and you always upgrade right away) the subscription package is actually a reasonable deal.

Don’t forget the fact that both Office Home & Student and OneCare come with licenses that are good for up to three computers, and the same goes for your Microsoft Equipt subscription. If you have three computers that you would use the software the price-per-PC actually isn’t all that bad.

The interesting thing is that Microsoft hasn’t said anything about this being offered in other countries besides the United States, and for that matter it appears that only Circuit City will be selling it. I’m not quite sure why Microsoft wouldn’t offer something like this for download online?