Have you ever wanted a piece of software but have been left wanting because of the cost?
Microsoft software, in particular, can be quite expensive to acquire legitimately but there are legitimate ways to get your hands on their software.
If you are studying at TAFE or a university, you may be eligible for a significant discount by going to It’s Not Cheating. As long as you have a valid e-mail address with an eligible educational institution, you can buy Microsoft Office Ultimate for $75 (and get a free upgrade to Office 2010 when it is released). Other available deals are:
- Windows 7 Professional Upgrade @ $50,
- Microsoft Office Visio Professional @ $70.
What about development tools?
Again, if you are registered with an eligible educational institute, you can download a stack of server and development software for no cost at all at DreamSpark. Some of the software on offer are:
- Microsoft Expression Studio 3,
- Microsoft SQL Server 2008 Developer,
- Microsoft Visual Studio 2010 Ultimate,
- Windows Server 2008 R2 Standard.
Otherwise, if you want access to almost the entire catalogue of Microsoft software (full versions) for the purposes of testing its use and functionality, you might fancy signing up for a Microsoft TechNet subscription. It might be a bit steep for some at $512 but a couple of times a year the price is slashed by up to 30% (bringing the cost down to about $360) to encourage new subscriptions.
What about other mainstream software? Not everyone is wanting to eat from the Microsoft trough (which is fair enough, especially for open source folk).
Look no further than AlternativeTo. Across Windows, Mac, Linux and cloud-based platforms, you can search for alternatives to popular software and even filter by the type of license (be it commercial, open source or free). Whilst it does rely on a user community updating the site and sharing their thoughts and knowledge, I believe it is sufficiently mature to offer some insight into other choices when it comes to the bigger names.
Sure, other software may not be as good as the major player in the market but if you are looking for something that will get you some or most of the functionality that you are after, you might be able to get by.
So make sure you shop around a bit when you are after new software, there are definitely ways to save money!