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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 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.

"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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