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Microsoft. Skype

Microsoft’s New $199 Bundle Includes Skype Unlimited, Xbox Live Gold And Office 365

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Microsoft has a new bundle that’s actually a pretty great deal – the software giant is offering one year of Office 365 Home, Skype Unlimited World and Skype global Wi-Fi hotspot access, as well as an Xbox Music one-year streaming pass for $199. It’s only on sale between November 10 and January 4, and Microsoft suggests that it might not even be around that long, as stock is apparently limited, and it’s available for in-store purchase at Microsoft retail stores only.

Should you track one of these down, even if you’re an existing subscriber to any of the services included in the bundle, you’ll automatically have your existing subscription extended a full year from its current cycle date at no additional charge. Taken separately, the combined subscriptions would cost at least $330 annually, which means buyers are getting a discount of over $100 right off the bat.

The deal requires that you want to access both Microsoft’s fun, and its productivity-oriented services, but it’s also a better price than just Skype Unlimited and Office 365 combined, meaning it’s probably an easy sell for anyone looking at the business side of the equation. It’s also a better price than Skype plus Xbox Gold, meaning it’s also a logical purchase for gamers who like to stay in touch with Microsoft’s VoIP service, which is conceivably another decent-sized bucket.

Microsoft’s plan is simple: Draw in new users to its existing software and services by getting fans of other parts of its business to line up. It’s a good strategy, and one that takes advantage of Microsoft’s strengths without really requiring that the company do much to stretch itself. Plus, it can help highlight how these services can work together, even if overlap isn’t immediately apparent to a consumer pre-purchase.

Regardless of Microsoft’s goals, if you use any of these services, it’s likely worthwhile to pick this up. Now, how about expanding the program beyond retail and bringing it to Canada, Microsoft?