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
The software will be available mid-July.