Microsoft has been offering the full version of Office 2010 for a few months, but users who downloaded and installed the beta software have been coasting along with free access for much longer. Now it looks like Microsoft is pulling the plug on the beta office suite. The software will expire on October 31st. Scary, huh?

OK, not really. The scary part is the fact that a fully licensed copy of Office 2010 Professional will set you back $499, although you can also pick up Office Home and business for $279 or Home and Student for $149. The Office 2010 Home and Student edition comes with Word, Excel, OneNote and PowerPoint, but you’ll need to spend more money if you want Outlook, Access or Publisher.

Or you can use the stripped down Office Starter Edition, free Office Web Apps, or an alternative such as, Abiword, Google Docs, or Zoho.

via CNET

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