Microsoft Corp., aiming to broaden the use of its Office suite of business software among students and school districts, said it will begin selling a discounted version of Office XP to students and teachers through mainstream retail outlets.

Office XP Standard for Students and Teachers will retail at $149, nearly 70 percent less than the company’s full list price for other consumers. Despite the steep discount, product manager Scott Bishop said Microsoft would not lose money on sales.

This marks Microsoft’s first attempt to get to a wider scope of young users by offering the product to K-12 users and selling it through mainstream computer retailers.

The Redmond, Wash., software giant previously has offered volume licensing discounts to academic institutions and discounted versions of individual products through accredited institutions such as student book stores.

Those who buy the product will not have to show identification or other proof that they are students, Bishop said. The product’s end-user agreement does, however, stipulate that the version is only for student or teacher use.

Due out Oct. 25, the product includes all the software of the full-price edition, including Word, Excel, Outlook, and PowerPoint.

It’s geared toward students already familiar with the programs through their schools—a market Microsoft has worked to capture in the last few years.

“Students have access to Office when they’re at school,” Bishop said. “We also think it’s important to have access if they need to work on homework outside the classroom.”