Print 41 comment(s) - last by ImSpartacus.. on Apr 23 at 7:33 PM

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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RE: Ad support Office would be wonderful
By Houdani on 4/21/2008 5:58:48 PM , Rating: 3
Keep in mind, the article mentions it is an ad supported version of Works , which I've always considered to be a less than half-assed version of Office. I'll pass on that.

As for a subscription to Office, well simply put, that would be a good way to drive me into their competitor's arms. I've tolerated the cost of the OEM versions in the past and would not be willing to pay for a subscription which would (most likely) wind up costing me much, much more than what I've previously paid.

Don't get me wrong, I'm not totally against "subscription taxes," as evidenced by my dalliances with MMORPGs. I'm just against overpaying for items.

RE: Ad support Office would be wonderful
By Lonearchon on 4/21/2008 6:44:19 PM , Rating: 2
To top the fact they only looking at works to be ad support. MS works OEM can be had for $15 on newegg. I prefer a flat up front fee for office suites. If MS release the full suite for $150-$200 many more people would buy opposed to the Current $400(Full version with access and outlook)

By FITCamaro on 4/22/2008 7:44:36 AM , Rating: 2
I think they need to make the basic version with Word, Excel, and Powerpoint about $75. With Outlook, make it $100. Access, $150. The rest of the business software, $200-250.

By ImSpartacus on 4/21/2008 8:41:11 PM , Rating: 2
Keep in mind, the article mentions it is an ad supported version of Works , which I've always considered to be a less than half-assed version of Office. I'll pass on that.

Oh crud. Works is only a few bucks anyway. I would never use Works.

Still ad supported Office can be a dream for us mortals.

"We shipped it on Saturday. Then on Sunday, we rested." -- Steve Jobs on the iPad launch

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