Microsoft has briefly explained why it's killed a tried and tested way for loyal consumers to obtain a new edition of Office for a low price.
The company is not allowing upgrades to Office 2010, released to retailers on Tuesday, from older versions of its productivity suite. The move means you must get a completely new copy of its suite.
Microsoft briefly told consumers in a FAQ on the site promoting Office 2010 that it's killed upgrades from Office 2007 and the like in order to, er, "simplify" its product offering.
Upgrade versions provided a lower-priced and convenient way of getting the latest edition of the software without existing users needing to spring for the full product - call it a loyalty bonus.
Upgrade versions are offered elsewhere by Microsoft, such as on Windows 7, and by other software makers.
Earlier this year, Forrester warned of potential problems for users upgrading to Office 2010 from its predecessor Office 2007.
Forrester said there would be potential "speed bumps" - problems between the 32- and 64-bit versions of Office - as ActiveX controls and add-in dynamic link libraries (DLLs) written for 32-bit would not work in 64-bit. New features like the Outlook Social Connector would also experience problems working with the re-engineered SharePoint Workspace.
Microsoft's new, low-priced Office option is the Product Key Card - only you'll either need a brand new PC to obtain one or buy Office as a download, and then it'll still be a full copy of Office 2010.
The key card is priced less than the full boxed product of Office 2010 and it contains a 25-character code that activates your copy of Office 2010. You can only use the key card to activate Office 2010 on a single PC. ®