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Microsoft to replace Works suite with Office Starter 2010

by Parm Mann on 9 October 2009, 12:20

Tags: Office 2010, Microsoft (NASDAQ:MSFT)

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Microsoft has announced that it will revamp the way in which it offers its Office productivity suite to consumers via the introduction of a free, ad-supported offering that will be pre-loaded by PC manufacturers.

Dubbed Office Starter 2010, the software will be a reduced-functionality, ad-supported version of the Microsoft's upcoming Office 2010. Designed to offer consumers a "consistent Office user experience", Office Starter 2010 will include Word Starter 2010 and Excel Starter 2010, with basic functionality for creating, viewing and editing documents.

The Starter Edition of Office 2010 is designed to replace the current reduced-functionality suite, Microsoft Works, and will feature an upgrade path for those wanting the full features of Office 2010.

Facilitating the upgrade process, Microsoft will launch Office 2010 Product Key Cards into the retail marketplace. Designed with smaller packaging then a full DVD, the Product Key Card will contain a single license key allowing consumers with Office Starter 2010 to upgrade electronically to either Office Home & Student 2010, Office Home & Business 2010, or Office Professional 2010.

Finally, the Redmond-based software giant also announced a new means to download and try Office 2010 dubbed "Click-to-Run". The technology is said to "make it easier than ever for customers to try or buy Office digitally by significantly reducing the time and effort required to download Office 2010 over the Internet", and will utilise virtualisation technology to allow users to try Office 2010 alongside existing installed versions.

Office 2010 is expected to reach retail next year, and a broad beta will be made available late in 2009.

HEXUS Forums :: 8 Comments

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Looking into my crystal ball I see this making next to no impact on the number of pirated copies of top end Office packages out there.
I dunno, depends on how heavily gimped the “Starter” editions are. If you get Word with most of its features intact I think that'll do for most people. Of course, if we could have an open standard for office application files, which everyone adhered to properly, this would be nothing of an announcement, but since most large corporations and public bodies are tied into Word and people like compatibility, this might make a lot more sense than Flogging works for next to nothing then enticing people to Office with trial versions.

The big question is: will it also be available as a free download…?
Looking into my crystal ball I see this making next to no impact on the number of pirated copies of top end Office packages out there.
I'm not so sure. People are going to see they have “Office”, they are unlikely to care which version it is, as long as it looks the part and does the basics. And lets face it 95% of people are only going to use 5% of Office.

Everyone knows Works is terrible, and if someone is going to replace it with a pirate Office, it's going to be Ultimate of similar. No-one pirates the basic versions :)
This might sound a bit predictable or something but…
OpenOffice 3.1 really is quite good you know!
If i'm asked to fix a laptop /PC which usually requires wiping i have no qualms about putting OpenOffice(.org) on it, unless the customer has a specific request or provided CD already. I've not had anyone complain (other than my wife who uses Excel day in-day out).
I wonder how much MS pay companies to put this on the machines? I assume there are significant Windows discounts for chucking adware on new machines which gives them 2 revenue streams (ad+upgrade). Open Office all the way - I can't stand M$ office at work :angst: