Amazon Leaks Oct. 26 Launch of Mac Office 2011

Microsoft will launch the next version of Office for the Mac in just under six weeks, according to Amazon.com.

The Seattle-based online retailer listed Office for Mac 2011's availability date as Oct. 26 for all versions of the upcoming suite.

Previously, Microsoft had only promised to ship the newest version of Office before the end of October.

Amazon did not display prices for the two new editions, Home and Student 2011 and Home and Business 2011. Each will come in two configurations, a one-license package and a multi-license version.

Last month, Microsoft set the prices of Home and Student 2011 at $119 and $149 for the one- and three-license editions, respectively; Home and Business will list for $199 and $249 in one- and two-license versions.

Microsoft will not sell discounted "upgrade" versions of Office 2011, as it has for the suite's predecessors. The decision followed a similar move earlier this year when the Redmond, Wash., software maker dropped upgrade editions and pricing for Office 2010 for Windows, which debuted in May.

Customers can save money by buying the current version, Office for Mac 2008, and then taking advantage of a free upgrade offer that Microsoft also launched last month.

Customers who purchase Office for Mac Home and Student 2008 -- listed Friday for $125 on Amazon -- will get the three-license version of the 2011 suite, a $25 savings. Purchasers of the 2008 Business Edition, now selling for $200, will get a free copy of the two-license Home and Business 2011, cutting out-of-pocket expenses by $49.

Microsoft will also sell a $99 academic edition of Office for Mac 2011 to college students, faculty and staff. The discounted version will include the same applications as Home and Business, but will not be sold at general retail.

Gregg Keizer covers Microsoft, security issues, Apple, Web browsers and general technology breaking news for Computerworld. Follow Gregg on Twitter at @gkeizer or subscribe to Gregg's RSS feed . His e-mail address is gkeizer@ix.netcom.com .

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