When Office 2010 hits retail shelves on Tuesday, one of several new options will be for new PC buyers to purchase a product key card that upgrades their machine from a limited free version called Office Starter to the full version.
Though good for only a single machine, the product key cards will be cheaper than the full boxed copies of the software, which can be used on either two or three PCs, depending on the edition.
Office Starter is the replacement for Microsoft Works and consists of slimmed-down versions of Excel and Word. Users are also shown a small, rotating ad in the lower right-hand corner pitching them on various programs and features they are missing by not having the full version.
The full Office, however, is already installed on the PC and can be upgraded by purchasing a product key card at a retail store.
Although Microsoft is selling Office 2010 on new PCs, for online download, and offering free browser-based Office Web Apps, it still expects to sell plenty of software the old-fashioned way, with consumers buying copies at retail stores.