Since BCM shipped inside the box with many copies of Office 2003 and Office 2007, companies that upgraded to Office 2010 rightfully expected that BCM would come along for the ride. Nope -- shrinkwrapped boxes of Office 2010 hit store shelves on June 15. Businesses expecting to upgrade Outlook and BCM got a nasty shock. Not only did the Office 2010 box not include BCM, there was no way Microsoft would sell or give their old customers a copy unless they split open a vein and bought a Volume License.
It took more than three months (until Sept. 23) for some sanity to prevail. Justin Hutchinson, Director of Microsoft Office, puts it this way:
[W]e decided to simplify the Office 2010 lineup by including Outlook with BCM, a business product, only in volume licensing. We understand it is not ideal for every user. When we made this decision, we underestimated the importance of BCM to our small business customers and those who purchased previous versions of Office in retail stores or pre-installed on PCs. Worse yet, we left many of our customers, who didn't want to buy through volume licensing, stranded with their data locked in previous versions of Office.
Microsoft isn't giving away BCM, but it is allowing companies that bought an earlier version of Office with BCM to get the new version of BCM along with an Office 2010 upgrade, no Volume License required.
If you or your company bought Office 2003 or 2007 with BCM (in the box or pre-installed on a PC), or a stand-alone Outlook 2003 or 2007 and you buy Office 2010 Home and Business or Pro, or Outlook 2010, Microsoft will give you a free copy of BCM. To get yours, start at the BCM 2010 download page.
[W]e apologize to customers who were adversely affected by this oversight.
Oversight, my foot. Whoever made the decision didn't understand -- or care about -- BCM's target audience. It's appalling that Microsoft didn't right this situation immediately.
This article, "Microsoft Business Contact Manager upgrade available for free," was originally published at InfoWorld.com. Get the first word on what the important tech news really means with the InfoWorld Tech Watch blog.