In a pilot marketing campaign called "It's Not Cheating" Microsoft is practically giving away its $1150 Office Ultimate 2007 suite to Australian uni students for just $75. That is, if its Windows Live OneCare phishing warnings don't scare away too many prospective buyers.
The discount, made available through the www.itsnotcheating.com.au website, was launched on February 26 and offers a 95 percent saving on a lifetime licence version of Office Ultimate 2007. Students can also choose to purchase a one year licence of the product for $25 with the option to renew its longevity after the initial 12 month period runs out.
However, the effort may be all for naught unless Microsoft reins in its Windows Live OneCare security software which in some cases identifies the site as a potential phishing scam.
When entering the site, some users have reported receiving a warning from Windows Live OneCare advising that the www.itsnotcheating.com.au site is a suspicious website.
The warning reads: "Phishing filter has determined this might be a phishing website. We recommend that you do not give any of your information to such websites. Phishing websites impersonate trustworthy websites for the purpose of obtaining your personal or financial information."
A Microsoft spokesperson said the company was unaware of the warning but pledged to amend it as soon as possible.
Other than the ironic OneCare warning, everything else on the site seemed in order and the Microsoft spokesperson assured PC World that the authentication process for orders was secure.
To be eligible for the offer students must be enrolled in an Australian university that has a Volume Licensing Agreement with Microsoft. Once students sign up for the offer using their university email address, a code and download link is sent to activate the purchase.
Although Microsoft already offers discounts on Home and Student versions of Office 2007 for $249 each, the Microsoft spokesperson said the new offer would not compete with these.
"Microsoft isn't competing with itself in terms of pricing for different versions of Office; it is looking at revising its business model to make Microsoft Office Ultimate 2007 affordable and accessible to university students," the spokesperson said.
Unlike the "It's Not Cheating" offer which requires software to be installed on a single computer with no original discs sent to the student, users who purchase Home or Student editions can install the software on three computers, the spokesperson said.
Although the offer is currently only open to University students, if successful, Microsoft said the promotion would be extended to TAFE and K-12 students.
In order to spread word of the promotion, Microsoft is offering prizes to bloggers who mention the deal.
"All you have to do is mention the word 'Office' and the link www.itsnotcheating.com.au in your blog," reads the website. "Winner is judged on creativity of the story."
The "It's Not Cheating" offer ends May 28.