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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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By quickk on 4/21/2008 9:59:15 PM , Rating: 2
when they think of typing a letter or a research paper , the first thing they think of is Word from Microsoft’s Office suite

This made me cringe. For research papers, nothing beats LaTeX!

RE: Yikes!
By CSMR on 4/22/2008 12:25:07 AM , Rating: 3
A person who doesn't intimately understand the inner workings of computers will not even be able to install LATEX, let alone be comfortable using it. You have to pay to get a self-contained application using LATEX with a decent GUI. Unless the work is dense in mathematics it will rarely be worth it.

RE: Yikes!
By quickk on 4/22/2008 12:47:53 PM , Rating: 2
While I agree with you that using LaTeX isn't as simple as using word or openoffice, depending on the type of document you are writing, learning to use LaTeX may well be worth the effort. I'd rarely use LaTeX to write a letter, for example, but I'd certainly use it to write a thesis even if it did not contain any mathematics. LateX in combination with BibTeX (used to keep track, and typeset, your references) is extremely powerful, and does not have to cost you anything.

If anyone is interested in learning about LaTeX, you can check out this nice document:

To use LateX in windows, just install the freely available miktex:

For a nice free windows GUI:

RE: Yikes!
By tanishalfelven on 4/22/2008 10:14:40 PM , Rating: 2
dude,your sense of humor is broken.

"I mean, if you wanna break down someone's door, why don't you start with AT&T, for God sakes? They make your amazing phone unusable as a phone!" -- Jon Stewart on Apple and the iPhone

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