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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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getting there
By 4wardtristan on 7/5/2008 2:56:44 AM , Rating: 2
this is certainly a step in the right direction, but there are 2 minor issues i see with this

1) onecare SUCKS

2) no outlook

apart from that, it certainly beats paying for retail office!!




RE: getting there
By TechGOAT on 7/5/2008 7:34:12 AM , Rating: 1
I installed Office 2007 on my laptop a while back. It lasted less than a week before I restored an old image of my HDD to go back to Office XP. It was amazing how much longer EVERYTHING took in 2007 because the stupid ribbon hides all the commands until you figure out the secret context that will display what you want. It's funny how MS claims users couldn't find things in previous versions since MS started hiding the commands in Office XP and 2003 by not showing full menus (which fortunately you could disable); now they ensured you can't disable their stupid ideas. (The scary thing is the same person responsible for ruining Office is in charge of the interface for Windows 7.)

I think the only problem with this deal is that MS would have to PAY ME to put Office 2007 back on my computer, not the other way around... and probably more than $70/year.


RE: getting there
By Spivonious on 7/5/2008 10:32:06 AM , Rating: 2
You are in the small minority then. Office 2007's UI is 5000% easier to find things than 95/97/2000/XP/2003. There are so many features of Word that I didn't even know existed until I used 2007.


RE: getting there
By TechGOAT on 7/5/2008 4:27:12 PM , Rating: 1
I've often been entertained by the senseless rants and "fan-boys" on DailyTech. It's curious how the first time I post something with an honest assessment of a product, I get ranked down to zero.

Just because you couldn't find out how to do stuff in previous versions of Office, doesn't mean the new UI is any better. I wrote my entire dissertation in MS Word 2002 (XP), much to the amazement of my classmates using LaTeX and other fancy tools. It wasn't that hard to figure out how to do things. Now that commands are all hidden (unless you're in the right contextual menu) it'll be much harder. Yes, if you never took the time to look through menus in previous versions, you can find things that you didn't know existed, but just because you found them now doesn't make them any better or mean they weren't there before. (Part of my point in the previous post is that MS claims people didn't know about features, but that was a result of MS defaulting Office to hide full menus.)

I'll grant 2007 has a couple improvements not related to the UI: 1M+ rows in Excel, much improved conditional formatting, XML file formats, etc. Still, if MS wants to water down the interface for folks who need training wheels, at least give the rest of us the opportunity to take them off and use the more efficient menus (with proper keyboard shortcuts which didn't all make it into 2007 despite MS claims). It's infuriating to constantly have to go back to the mouse to do things that took <2 seconds with the keyboard (Alt+i S, Alt+e e, Alt+o e, etc.).


RE: getting there
By JustTom on 7/5/2008 11:46:06 PM , Rating: 5
quote:
It's infuriating to constantly have to go back to the mouse to do things that took <2 seconds with the keyboard (Alt+i S, Alt+e e, Alt+o e, etc.).


Did you even use Office 07? All those shortcuts work, when you hit alt and the first key an info box pops up to tell you you are accessing 2003 shortcuts. When you hit the second key the proper command is executed.

quote:
Now that commands are all hidden (unless you're in the right contextual menu) it'll be much harder. Yes, if you never took the time to look through menus in previous versions, you can find things that you didn't know existed, but just because you found them now doesn't make them any better or mean they weren't there before.


On one hand you are complaining that you can't find the commands you want because you haven't learned the system, on the other you are complaining people couldn't find those same commands because they didn't learn the system.


RE: getting there
By TechGOAT on 7/6/08, Rating: 0
RE: getting there
By JustTom on 7/6/2008 10:43:37 AM , Rating: 3

quote:
It's infuriating to constantly have to go back to the mouse to do things that took <2 seconds with the keyboard (Alt+i S, Alt+e e, Alt+o e, etc.).

Those specific shortcuts DO work. I have not checked each and every shortcut from 03 since I don’t use a large number of them; however I have not found a single one of my favorites that does not work. If you have real examples of ones that don't I'd be happy to agree with you. But since you picked 3 very specific shortcuts, and since all three behave exactly how they do in Office 03 what I posted was a valid critique of your argument.
As a side note, those commands that have a keyboard shortcut typically display a tooltip indicating that shortcut; once again I cannot be sure this is universal since I do not have the entire Office shortcut list memorized.
I read your original post; you claimed to have had 07 installed for less than a week, hardly a reason to claim expertise in this piece of software.
quote:
I feel like I'm dealing with students here... RTFQ: read the full question, or in my state of frustration you can substitute another word for the F.

I read your post, found very specific faults with the logic and you reply with an ad hominem attack, very nice.


RE: getting there
By Spivonious on 7/5/08, Rating: -1
RE: getting there
By Spivonious on 7/7/08, Rating: 0
"Let's face it, we're not changing the world. We're building a product that helps people buy more crap - and watch porn." -- Seagate CEO Bill Watkins














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