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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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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%?

"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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