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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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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.

"Well, we didn't have anyone in line that got shot waiting for our system." -- Nintendo of America Vice President Perrin Kaplan

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