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Subscription and ad-supported versions of Office applications in the cards

For many computer users around the world when they think of typing a letter or a research paper, the first thing they think of is Word from Microsoft’s Office suite. The problem for buyers of new computers is that the application typically doesn’t come with a new computer and Office costs in the area of $400 for some versions.

In light of the high price for software that many people simply don’t utilize completely, there are a number of open source alternatives taking some of Microsoft’s thunder away because they are free – applications like OpenOffice and Google Docs for example. Google Docs is especially becoming more interesting to users looking for a Microsoft Office alternative thanks to its recently added offline functionality.

To try and gain back some of what it perceives to be market loss, Microsoft is said to be looking at new business models for its Office applications. According to PC World, Microsoft is considering two new access methods for Office applications including a subscription based model and a free ad-supported version of Microsoft Works.

Exactly what the pricing would be on a subscription version of Microsoft Office is unknown, but as PC World points out it would have to be under $33 per month to remain competitive with the straight purchase option. Many would have a hard time stomaching a subscription-based model.

Microsoft is also reported to be pilot testing an ad-supported version of Microsoft Works that could be provided on new PCs at no change in exchange for having to put up with ads. How exactly the ads would be presented is unknown. Some sort of a quasi-unobtrusive permanent ad space like you see in some versions of the Eudora mail application might not be too bad.

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Office is overpriced
By 306maxi on 4/21/2008 5:36:07 PM , Rating: 2
Please don't think I'm a Microsoft hater or anything but Office has always been overpriced which is why a good deal of people just pirate it.

I'm more than happy to pay for Vista (and I have) as it's something I use 100% of the time while my PC is on but Office is something I only use perhaps once or twice a week. The price you pay to get a decent MS office suite is just ridiculous.

So I'll just go on my girlfriend's PC and use her legal copy of Office 2007 rather than paying Microsoft a reasonable amount to have it on my PC.

RE: Office is overpriced
By 306maxi on 4/21/2008 5:40:10 PM , Rating: 2
Bah. Where's an edit button when you need it?

Forgot to add that I'd be happy to run an ad supported version of Office as long as the ads only appear when using an office app which I'm sure they would. So if Microsoft do release an ad supported version of office with the office apps I need then I'll be downloading it for sure.

RE: Office is overpriced
By Cherish on 4/21/2008 5:40:58 PM , Rating: 5
Too bad you haven't heard of Home And Student Edition. The most reasonably priced one.

RE: Office is overpriced
By 306maxi on 4/21/2008 5:49:51 PM , Rating: 2
Doesn't have Outlook which is a deal breaker for me. I can do without Word and Powerpoint tbh. My girlfriend got her copy of Office Ultimate 2007 through the ultimate steal promotion for a rather reasonable price. So I just use her computer or remote into it if I'm feeling especially lazy.

RE: Office is overpriced
By ImSpartacus on 4/21/2008 8:43:08 PM , Rating: 2
It doesn't have Outlook which kills it for me. I also use Access from time to time, but I can deal with using OpenOffice for that.

RE: Office is overpriced
By Houdani on 4/22/2008 10:10:56 AM , Rating: 2
A full version of Outlook is around $85 and Home/Student is $120 (Amazon prices). So for $205 you can build a FrankenOffice which is $100 cheaper than the full version of MS Office Standard.

As a bonus, you can legally install Home/Student on three PCs in your house AND transfer the license to other machines when you buy new computers.

From the license agreement:
"You may install one copy of the software on three licensed devices in your household for use by people who reside there. ... You may reassign the license to a different device any number of times, but not more than one time every 90 days."


RE: Office is overpriced
By ImSpartacus on 4/23/2008 6:36:21 AM , Rating: 2
Oh shnap, I didn't think Outlook was so cheap. I always thought Office apps were 100-150$ each. Nice call.

RE: Office is overpriced
By BladeVenom on 4/21/2008 5:50:29 PM , Rating: 2
Just use Open Office, or some other free alternatives.

RE: Office is overpriced
By 306maxi on 4/21/2008 6:25:09 PM , Rating: 2
G/F's PC in the next room is free and Office Ultimate 2007 is better than Open Office. Open Office was flaky when we ran it. The ribbon menu system takes some getting used to but once you get used to it it's quicker.

My girlfriend is a school teacher so spends a lot of time using Office to make worksheets, powerpoint slideshows for school so uses Office for a couple of hours a night and could only tolerate Open Office for a couple of months before she pestered me to find a reasonable priced alternative. She couldn't be bothered about hating microsoft or loving open source. She simply wants something that enables her to do her work quickly, easily and in a format that will work on her school PC's. I actually think the opinion of someone who just uses a product is worth more than sad people like us who discuss this stuff ad nauseum.

RE: Office is overpriced
By ImSpartacus on 4/21/2008 8:45:23 PM , Rating: 2
I love the ribbon. It actually keeps people off my PC because they can't use it. I love the giant buttons, but you can still have a customizable old style toolbar for your fav's.

One of the many reasons I can't stand using OpenOffice. The ribbon seems liek a gimmick at first, but once you learn it, it is much quicker and smoother (big buttons FTW).

RE: Office is overpriced
By Houdani on 4/22/2008 10:30:02 AM , Rating: 2
As a teacher, your girlfriend qualifies for the Academic Edition of Office (full version of Professional for $175-ish) which can be installed on a laptop and a desktop concurrently. I just thought I'd point that out in case you have an unused license floating around the house.

"Young lady, in this house we obey the laws of thermodynamics!" -- Homer Simpson

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