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Dell offers range of Microsoft software for download

Dell is offering Microsoft's Office products for download, making it the first vendor other than Microsoft to do so.

Microsoft's site also displays what other retail partners are charging for hard copies of Office Home and Student 2007. Retailers Best Buy and Staples stick with the suggested price of $149.99, while Amazon.com comes in the cheapest at $84.99 for a version that includes licenses for three PCs.

Dell opened its Download Store in January and says 10,000 people visit it on average every week. Other vendor partners include McAfee, Nero, CA Inc., Symantec Corp. and Webroot.

The Microsoft products are only available to U.S. customers. Software applications include versions of the Office suite and its lower-end counterpart, Works, plus Word, Excel, Outlook and Groove, according to a search on Dell's Download Store.

Prices are discounted from the suggested retail price. For example, Microsoft's suggested retail price for its Office Home and Student 2007 suite is $149.99, but Dell will sell it for $129.99. Microsoft sells that suite for $149.95 on its own Web site.

For people who have trouble installing the software on their PCs, Dell will allow customers to download the software they have purchased again.

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