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.