I was at a tradeshow recently when a voice spoke to me out of the inky shadows , “Hey bub, would you like a free copy of Microsoft Office?”
“Have you installed it yet?” the mysterious stranger asked.
“No, I haven’t seen much need for Office on an 8-inch screen.”
Even in his shadowy hiding place, I could see the man smile. “There’s no reason why you have to install it on your tablet. That copy of Office is yours, and you can do anything with it you want. It’s not tied to the tablet you bought in any way.”
Actually, that’s not exactly how the conversation went — I was speaking to an employee a company that makes Windows tablets. But he did ask that I not reveal his identity because he suspects that Microsoft doesn’t want people to know this little secret.
Making a Good Deal Even Better
Google Android currently dominates the market for inexpensive tablets, but Microsoft hasn’t given up the fight… not by a long shot.
To help foster the sale of mid-size tablets, every Windows device with a screen smaller than 9 inches comes bundled with a free copy of Office Home & Student 2013.
Although the implication is the consumer is going to install this software on his or her new tablet, as my unnamed source pointed out, there’s no reason why they have to.
Many of the mid-size devices cost under $300, sometime way under. Even the most basic version of Office costs at least $70, so those who are planning to buy a copy of this productivity suite for their laptop or desktop can get both it and a tablet for a surprisingly small amount of money.
Good for a Two-Device Solution
This deal could almost have been designed for those who want to use a two-device strategy. The people in this group have a desktop at home or work and a tablet that they use when they are on the go, so they have access to a powerful computer when they need it, but also have a very portable one when mobility becomes more important.
If this appeals to you, you need to hurry, though: Microsoft announced this week that it will soon stop giving away a free copy of Office Home & Student 2013 with mid-size tablets and instead bundle these devices with a free year of Office 365. So if you’d like an inexpensive Windows tablet along with a a copy of Office you can do anything you want to with, don’t delay.
Some of the tablets that are part of this deal: