It isn't often that I find something to praise Microsoft on. This, however, I might. Launching a new program called "The Ultimate Steal", Microsoft is giving college students a chance to get a legal copy of Office 2007 Ultimate for a mere $59.95 - less than a copy of Office Basic goes for in retail. That's a significant discount, and brings the suite low enough that it might encourage many students to go about getting legal copies rather than pirating.

Or, perhaps, from choosing an alternative suite. Microsoft's intentions may exactly be that, trying to encourage people to stick with MS Office than go with alternatives, but even if that is the case this program is definitely interesting. The offer remains open to anyone who can demonstrate they are a student, and lasts until 2008. It isn't a worldwide offer, extending only to Canada, the U.K., the U.S., France, Italy and Spain. There may still be some caveats included - it isn't mentioned, for instance, if the license for Office remains valid after someone is no longer attending college.

You can read the full press release at Microsoft's site or read about the program itself at the "Ultimate Steal" site.