We're coming up on the deadline to order Microsoft's Office Ultimate for $60. The software includes all the usual Office programs -- Word, Excel, Outlook--plus PowerPoint, Groove, OneNote, and InfoPath. The deal is supposed to be only for students, but as the New York Times pointed out what Microsoft really requires is an email address that ends in .edu.

The Times called the deal a 91% off sale, counting a list price of $679. But who pays list anymore? Ultimate is on sale on Amazon for $400. Still, that's a pretty big sale -- 85% off. And it's certainly cheaper than just the regular version of Home office you may be buying with a new computer.

The question is: Are you a student or can you pass as one? The Times noted that anybody can probably get an .edu address from their college as an alumni. Now Microsoft has this condition that they can check up on you and if they catch you not being a student you have to pay full price, $679. Is this whole thing a ploy to get somebody to actually pay full price? Or is Microsoft not going to check? All they want is for you to be taking half a credit.

If Microsoft comes hounding you for $610, I'd have to wonder if you could just sign up for a community college gym class. Might be the smartest option.

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