If an OEM wants to bundle Office Starter 2010 with a Windows computer they are selling, Microsoft plans to charge $5 per copy. If, however, the PC maker wants to save some dough, there's a way to pay just $2 per copy, but there's a catch. It also needs to bundle something called "PC Essentials," which includes Windows Live Essentials (Messenger, Mail, Writer, Photo Gallery, Movie Maker, Family Safety, and Sync) and the Bing Bar (which will be included in Essentials as of Wave 4). It will also need to set Bing as the default search engine and MSN as the homepage in the PC's browser.
This is according to a Microsoft reseller who shared details with ZDNet (see the slide above). It shows that Microsoft hopes its partners will use the OEM Preinstallation Kit (OPK) to preload multiple copies of Office Starter 2010 and the Office 2010 image on new PCs. Then, they can use the OEM Partner Center (OPC) to purchase Office 2010 licenses and push them to their customers.
Office Starter 2010 is not available for purchase; it only comes preloaded on new PCs. It includes basic functionality so users can view, edit, and create documents via two ad-supported programs: Office Word Starter 2010 and Office Excel Starter 2010. In short, it's a replacement for Microsoft Works and trial versions of Office 2007 that expire in 60 days.
The second part of the strategy is the Product Key Card, available for purchase via major OEMs and electronic retail outlets. The Product Key Card is a single-license card that unlocks the functionality of OEM-preloaded copies of Office 2010, allowing users to upgrade to Office Home & Student 2010, Office Home & Business 2010, or Office Professional 2010.
Source: ars technica