UPDATED on November 21, 2012. Scroll down to the bottom of the page to see more deals!
November is a fantastic time to get price breaks on new Windows and Mac software, whether you’re shopping for yourself or friends and family on your holiday gift list. Black Friday deals might be easier to find for computers, tablets, and other hardware gadgets, but if you know where to look, discounts ranging from decent to deep — and even some freebies — are out there for software. You can get bargains on Windows 8 Pro upgrade software packages, Microsoft Office 2010 (with free upgrades to Office 2013), and software in categories like photo and video editing, music, DVD movies, PC security, desktop publishing, and much more.
To help you on your way, here are some suggestions on where to locate the deals, culled mainly from sneak peeks at Black Friday ads. There are no guarantees that better prices won’t pop up on some of these products elsewhere, but if you follow these tips, you’ll definitely save money. We’ll also give you a heads up on a couple of freebies. Keep in mind, too, that software discounts will be available both before and after Black Friday on tons of online shopping sites.
$54.99 at Best Buy stores
Although upgrades to the Pro edition of Microsoft’s latest OS are also downloadable for $39.99, a software package is something that looks great underneath a tree. With Windows 8, you can run classic software packages, along with growing numbers of free or low-cost apps — such as Evernote for Windows 8 and RT — which are specifically designed to run under Microsoft’s new Modern user interface (UI).
By buying the Pro upgrade, you can turn an existing Windows 7, Vista or XP PC into a Windows 8 machine.
Hordes of other stores and online retailers are selling the upgrade package through January 31 at special introductory pricing of $69.99. Afterwards, the MSRP is expected to hit $199.99.
At Best Buy stores, though, the upgrade will be available for $54.99 when the clock strikes midnight to mark the start of Black Friday. That’s a $15.00 savings.
Microsoft Office Home & Student 2010 (3 users) with free upgrade to Office 2013:
$99.99 at Office Depot stores
If you can wait until 7 am on Black Friday, you can pick up a three-user edition of Microsoft Office Home & Student at Office Depot.
The package includes favorites like Microsoft Office, Excel, PowerPoint and OneNote.
You also get a free upgrade to Office 2013 — a new edition outfitted with a touch interface and more cloud enablement — as soon as Office 2013 becomes available early next year.
QuickBooks Online Simple Start 2013 for Windows or Mac:
FREE at Staples stores
We promised you a couple of freebies, and here is one of them. Usually priced at $99.99, the latest edition of this starter package for organizing your finances and tracking your expenses will be available free of charge at Staples stores on Black Friday, with a $90.00 rebate.
The software is offered for both Windows and Macs. Staples stores open their doors at 5 am on Black Friday.
$3.99 each at Best Buy stores
Also during Best Buy’s Black Friday sale, you’ll be able to choose from 50 different Blu-ray movie titles at $3.99 each, and from 50 different DVD titles for merely $1.99 each. These flicks are regularly priced from $4.99 to $24.99.
Best Buy will also sell huge numbers of other Blu-ray and DVD movies at somewhat higher discounted prices. Pick up a bunch of movies as stocking stuffers.
Pinnacle Studio 16 Plus:
For those who want to make their own movies, Amazon.com is selling Corel’s new Pinnacle Studio 16 Plus — a package ordinarily priced at $99.99 — for $10.00 off, even in advance of Black Friday. The software runs on Windows 8, 7, Vista and XP. You can save the movies you create to Youtube, Facebook or Vimeo, all in a single click.
Also before Black Friday, Amazon.com is offering discounts on lots of other software packages, including Norton AntiVirus 2013 (three users, $62.95), Typing Instructor of Kids ($14.99) and Learn to Speak Spanish Deluxe ($17.99), to name a few.
With more hunting, you can often find much steeper discounts on software elsewhere. But on Amazon.com, it’s alway easy to return to search for new software deals throughout the year.
$5.99 at Dell.com
For an even better bargain on antivirus software, head on over to Dell.com, where McAfee AV Plus will be on sale during Black Friday for just $5.99. Black Friday shopping will start on the site at 12 am.
Like Norton AntiVirus 2013, McAfee AntiVirus Plus 2013 operates on and protects Windows versions from Windows 8 back through Windows XP.
Adobe Photoshop Elements 11 for Windows or Mac:
$49.99 at Staples stores
If you’re going to Staples on Black Friday to get a free copy of QuickBooks Online Simple Start (or for any other reason), you can also pick up Adobe Photoshop Elements 11 for just about half of its list price of $99.99.
The latest edition of this popular photo editing package for Windows and Mac features a new UI which is much easier on the eyes. It’s a nice gift choice for all digital camera owners who want to enhance the results of their photo efforts.
Photo Impact Pro 13:
If you’d rather get a photo editing package for free on Black Friday, Office Depot is the place to go. There, Nova Development’s Photo Impact Pro 13 is slated to be available free of charge, with a $79.99 rebate.
Features of the software package include ExpressFix, for easily correcting photo flaws; 3D text and graphics; more than 250 built-in special effects; and the ability to burn slide shows. According to info on Nova’s Web site, the software runs on Windows 8, 7, Vista, ME, and even 98(!).
$100.00 iTunes Gift Card:
$80.00 at Best Buy stores
Also on Black Friday, Best Buy plans to sell $100.00 iTunes gift cards for just $80.00 in its stores from coast-to-coast.
Outfitted with the gift card, kids and grown-ups can download whatever music, movies, and TV shows they want from Apple’s online iTunes store.
$49. 99 at OfficeMax stores
If you’re ever wished your your PC could turn your spoken words into text, DNS will grant you that wish. The new version 12 is faster and more accurate than its predecessor.
List priced at $129.98, DNS Home 12 will be on sale during Black Friday for only $49.99 at OfficeMax stores on Black Friday. Stores open at 6 am.
Print Shop Deluxe 3.0:
Also at OfficeMax stores, you can obtain a copy of Print Shop Deluxe 3.0, regularly priced at $49.99, for only $7.49, a 75 percent discount.
This desktop publishing package for Windows is designed to let you quickly create your own greeting cards, signs, calendars and newsletters.
It includes clip art, templates, and tools for layout and photo editing.
McAfee Total Protection 2013:
$9.99 at Walmart stores
For more security safeguards that you’ll get from antivirus software, you’ll be able to buy McAfee Total Protection 2013 at Walmart Stores for $9.99 — a $50.00 price break — beginning at 10 pm on Thanksgiving night.
Beyond AV protection, the package provides features like anti-spam and anti-phishing software, online backup, wireless network protection, a URL shortener, and much more. It protects up to three PCs.
Norton Internet Security 2013:
$19.99 at BJs.com
There, you can buy Norton Internet Security 2013 for only $19.99. The package adds a firewall and identity protection to the AV safeguards in Norton Antivirus 2013. You can run the software on up to three PCs.
VMWare Fusion 5 for Mac OS X:
$16.99 at MacMall
For an even earlier headstart on Black Friday shopping, browse on over to MacMall.
For example, from now through November 23 at 11:59 pm PST, you can purchase VMWare Fusion 5 — a package for running Windows programs on a Mac — for $16.99, a $33.00 savings off the $49.99 list price, if you use a $15.00 Instant Savings code available on the site.