Print 71 comment(s) - last by callmeroy.. on Jul 11 at 11:13 AM

Microsoft hopes to lure bargain hunters with new subscription model, perhaps hints at changing business plan

There have been some in the software industry who have advocated a subscription model for their programs.  They suggest that rental programs could save both the consumer and the software companies.  Microsoft seemed to validate those advocates as it announced that it will begin distributing rental copies of its popular Office productivity suite.

The new deal will bring copies of the software to over 700 Circuit City stores across the country.  The latest version of the Office suite will be bundled with Microsoft's Live OneCare computer security software and will work for $70 per year.

Bryson Gordon, a group product manager for the Office group said that Circuit City does not have an exclusive distribution agreement; it was merely the first to jump on the opportunity.  He said other retailers and PC manufacturers such as Dell may be offering the software bundle soon as well.

The new software bundle is named Microsoft Equipt and comes with Word, Excel, PowerPoint and OneNote, plus OneCare and a handful of existing free Windows Live applications.  It was rumored for months, under the codename "Albany". 

Mr. Gordon explained that Equipt is aimed at people who when buying a new computer would skip and Office purchase and merely reuse old Office disks or pirate a friend's copy.  He said that the $70 price tag falls in the middle of McAfee Inc. and Symantec Corp's security offerings, so users can justify the purchase merely as a security suite and get the productivity software as a bonus.

Matt Rosoff, an analyst for the independent research group Directions on Microsoft remarked that while Office is the industry standard, the OneCare security suite has seen slow adoption.  However, he feels the low price and creative business model may help it catch on, probably part of Microsoft's intention with the bundle.

He argues that Microsoft's main focus, though, is increasing the number of Office users, and trying to keep them from an increasing number of free solutions, such as Google's popular Docs software.

Equipt, like Office Home and Student 2007, allows installation on up to 3 machines.  Minor updates are automatically provided, through Window's update software.

The software will be available mid-July.

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By MaulBall789 on 7/4/2008 5:37:19 PM , Rating: 2
Three installations with each package is a great idea for Office and I am happy they have wised up to this method. The problem is that One Care is ranked near the bottom of all AV/security apps, worse even than Norton, which is saying something. If MS can get One Care up to par with Kaspersky or NOD32 this would be a real game changer.

Fingers crossed.

By middlehead on 7/4/2008 5:53:39 PM , Rating: 2
This is pretty much what I was going to say. I currently use free security apps (not stolen-free, free-free) and have stuck with the nearly-free Office 2003 I got senior year of college. I'd move up if they'd boost their security programs.

By foxtrot9 on 7/7/2008 1:42:06 PM , Rating: 2
Technically that student office version you call free is now stolen free - the license expires after you graduate

By callmeroy on 7/11/2008 11:08:41 AM , Rating: 2
What? Not unless they changed in the 10 years since I graduated college.

when you buy an academic license of a product WHILE honestly in college, you are now out of compliance if you still use and install the product after you graduate.

That's ridiculous.

By callmeroy on 7/11/2008 11:09:22 AM , Rating: 2
typo edit : now should have been NOT.

By daftrok on 7/4/2008 6:19:39 PM , Rating: 2
Or just get AVG Free 8.0 and use Google Docs.

By FaceMaster on 7/4/2008 6:46:56 PM , Rating: 3
My sister got a virus which AVGV successfully detected. However, it only removed one file. After installing Kaspersky on the same computer it found 2 other traces. AVG is okay, but to be honest if you're getting something for free you're going to have to pay the price. No you don't. But you do. What ever.

By Kenenniah on 7/5/2008 2:05:58 AM , Rating: 5
Actually you are the one deluding yourself. There are giant differences between anti-virus programs. Take a look at researchers that do real testing of anti-virus programs. (requires free registration)

Look at the comparatives found at
Especially the Retrospective /ProActive tests. The range on % of found viruses between different antivirus programs ranges from 6% to 74%.

Don't pay attention to sites like PC World that throw a few viruses at a progam to see what it catches. Places like av-comparatives test with over 11,000 malware programs on the retrospective tests, and over 1.6 million on the on demand tests.

By Kenenniah on 7/5/2008 2:13:21 AM , Rating: 2
And just in case you don't understand the difference, the Proactive comparitives are using unknown virues that aren't in the definition files. That is where the largest difference exists between antivirus programs. For viruses that are well known, yes most programs can do roughly the same job (with some exceptions). It's in finding those yet unknown viruses through advances heuristics etc. that truly sets good scanners apart from the bad.

By GaryJohnson on 7/5/2008 7:57:40 AM , Rating: 3
Read: advanced heruistics as advanced CPU usage

By Cogman on 7/5/2008 10:04:06 AM , Rating: 2
Though, to be honest unless you are in a corprate environment or downloading a lot of pron/illegal material. The chances of getting a virus are fairly slim.

In all my years of computer usage I have downloaded 1 maybe 2 viruses (I had AV at the time) an yes, I was pretty sure there might be viruses in the programs. The only virus I caught without my knowledge (ok, with my knowledge, but without my consent) was the RPC (Or RDP, I can't remember which) that exposed a fairly big explote in MS windows, making your computer shutdown several times.

Yes, I think it is safe to say that getting a virus on the internet isn't easy for someone that uses their head. Its next to impossible for us linux users :D;

By Spivonious on 7/5/2008 10:23:12 AM , Rating: 3
I haven't had a virus in 15 years of being on the Internet. It really is just common sense and staying up-to-date on security patches.

By larson0699 on 7/5/2008 2:57:31 PM , Rating: 1
That wasn't a virus, that was a "worm" which basically killed a crucial service, forcing a reboot.

The real viruses (such as the last one I ever got, "Win32.CIH" in 2000) are those which attach to files, usually corrupting their data (or worse yet the boot sector, though those kinds were scarce). I remember being upset having to format (it was the Win98 day, no getting around that) but now it's just standard practice every half a year (that was the incident which prompted me to store my data separate from the system).

TBH I have not had an AV permanently installed or otherwise RAM-resident since first installing Windows XP, though I occasionally toyed with favorites as new releases. The most unavoidable problem a few years ago was unpatched worms like Blaster, but SP3 and *maybe* an immunize run of Spybot is all I need.

"Browse smart, not hard."

If I am ever suspicious of something and can't track it in my running processes, a HouseCall ( will turn up anything I didn't know about, but that was usually just a few tracking cookies, before I disabled disk caching in my web browsers and fixed that too.

It's always the Kazaa crowd in hot water I suspect. And to that I say the problem exists between keyboard and chair. Let 'em get burned, and eventually something will click, if it isn't the "call larson0699 over to fix" button.

By FastLaneTX on 7/9/2008 12:37:56 PM , Rating: 2
Though, to be honest unless you are in a corprate environment or downloading a lot of pron/illegal material. The chances of getting a virus are fairly slim.

Yeah, and the subset of Internet users that do not fall into one of those two groups is what, maybe 1%?

By Diesel Donkey on 7/5/2008 10:23:48 PM , Rating: 3
I suppose you're correct that I should have done my research a little better before making the claim I did. However, one of the points I was trying to make, and I see now that I did not make it clearly, is that whether or not the software is free probably has nothing to do with how effective it is. The detection engines and heuristic algorithms that you mentioned are always evolving with the software, so an anti-virus that is on top now may no longer be the best after some detection engine updates across the board. Thus, I still hold the opinion that the OP is deluding him/herself if he/she believes that forking over the money for one anti-virus solution will lead to a permanent solution that will always be the best.

By Kenenniah on 7/6/2008 5:24:58 AM , Rating: 2
Very true also. Just by looking through the past results from AV Comparatives you can see major changes between each year's test of the same software. One program can have great results one year, then bad results the next. On average though you can find trends of those companies that seem to regularly do well (Eset Nod32) for example. There is always that caveat that trend might not continue for the next year :P

You are also correct that you can't jude based on price. There are many times that free programs have fared better than quite a few of the paid for suites.

By zolo111 on 7/6/2008 1:34:11 PM , Rating: 2
I have never had a virus infection in my pc for years, and I don't use AV software either; but I do a search every once in a while to see how things are going.

I've always recommened AVG till 6 months ago when friends have had viruses in thier pcs and AVG didn't get red of them, even clients running NOD32 have had thier share of trouble, same with people who have kaspersky running.

A friend of mine brought his laptop that had tons of viruses, and kaspersky couldn't heal the problem, I've tried different software but nothing seemed to fix it, till I installed Panda 2008 which got red of the problem. The virus was pretty new at the time, and it was a matter of who released the proper definition which in this case Panad did first.

Since I moved back to my home country, Saudi Arabia; my brother started using my pc, and I find Kaspersky Internet security suit to be the best so far.

The thing is, you shouldn't blame the AV program, if you use virus infested programs like some P2P ones and download a freaking 250kb .exe file labled hot teen sex and then moan about the AV program not doing it's job.

By callmeroy on 7/11/2008 11:13:32 AM , Rating: 2
Anyone really serious about virus/keylogger/spyware detection does NOT rely on a single product....I don't care WHAT product it is either.

I run more than one AV and more than one Spyware/Keylogger detection package and the ones I run are all given good to high reviews from multiple sources as well.

There is NOT a single package that even exists in the world today that catches everything.

Don't fool yourselves thinking there is.

By wordsworm on 7/6/2008 12:37:55 AM , Rating: 2
Since I got Vista 64, I've been using Avast (AVG doesn't work on Vista 64). I like it better than AVG to boot.

I really hate Norton. I can't tell you how many computers I've run into with it running where the owner says, "My computer is slow." I delete Norton, and voila! 'Fast' once more. Just installed Avast and the computer starts running quickly. Norton is a real computer killer. It's not great at dealing with viruses either. I had Norton for 1 year, and it did little for me. I got into ZoneAlarm for awhile, but their renewal process was a hassle, so I gave up on them and went with AVG.

Since getting rid of Norton, I've never had a virus.

By spluurfg on 7/6/2008 7:13:00 AM , Rating: 2
I'm not exactly sure what you're saying here... That the subscription model is more of a rip-off than the regular version?

By sxr7171 on 7/5/2008 5:17:43 PM , Rating: 2
Most people don't know the difference. They buy Norton after all. They just need to market the hell out of it.

By gramboh on 7/6/2008 11:54:08 PM , Rating: 2
First thing I thought as well. Come on MSFT, you have the resources, just buy Kaspersky or develop something as efficient/better UI/low footprint.

"If a man really wants to make a million dollars, the best way would be to start his own religion." -- Scientology founder L. Ron. Hubbard

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