Students don't have much money. Christmas is coming - along with a new PC. What do they do about software?
Well, it has always been possible for pupils to buy Microsoft software at educational prices (ie cheaper than they can buy it from normal retailers and online stores), but I have to admit that it's been a tricky thing for them to do. Over the last few months, that has changed. First Software4Students launched their online student shop, and then today RM have launched something similar, called "The Basement".
The site offers a range of the main Microsoft software directly to school students. All they have to do is register on the site, which includes telling the website which school you attend. (This is then also used to allow schools to claim cashback when your students buy)
Here's a couple of examples of the kind of deals students can expect - Office Professional Plus 2007 (the version that includes Publisher 2007 & Access 2007) for £51 - that's significantly cheaper than the cheapest home user version on Amazon or in retail stores (I just checked Amazon - they come in at £81 for the Home & Student edition (which doesn't include the above). But the best version on The Basement is Office Enterprise 2007 - that includes OneNote 2007 and Groove 2007 too - and that is only £62.99 - still cheaper than Home & Student.
The other example is "Student with Encarta Premium 2008", which is normally around £40 in the shops/online. In The Basement this is £8.50. Other software in the shop includes Windows Vista and lots of the new Microsoft Expression design suite
This seems a pretty nice move for everybody - students (and/or their parents) save money, the school gets an incentive to tell their students about it, and you are also ensuring that your homework assignments can be done on home PCs if appropriate.
The basement's most important note: The licensee of the software must be a full-time school student in the UK, and the software is designed for home use. So, no, you can't buy this software for school use. But if you're not already buying at similar prices, then check out my guide to getting the best deal on Microsoft education software
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Just wondering why Northern Ireland Counties are not offered on the "Basement" site when you can choose all regions of the UK on the Software4Students site. Is this an oversight or a licensing issue?
That's a good question - the right people to ask are RM, who run The Basement (they are one of a number of partners who run student shops online). There are no reasons (eg licensing) from a Microsoft point of view, but each of the Microsoft partners decide who they want to sell to (in this case, we're like a car manufacturer - we sell through a chain of dealers, each of whom choose specific customers they want to sell to).
One way to ask would be to use the Contact Us link on their website (http://www.rm.com/ContactUs/default.asp). I'll also forward your query, so that they know that customers in NI want the option to buy too!
Software4students gave me a great service when I ordered from them. I take it RM are just copying their stuff?