Office 2010 to come in Ad-supported version

By Kshitij Sobti Published Date
09 - Oct - 2009
| Last Updated
09 - Oct - 2009
Office 2010 to come in Ad-supported version

With the coming 14th version of Office, Microsoft is introducing new models for people to try out and buy the suite, which include a web-based Click-to-Run approach and an Ad-based model.

No doubt Microsoft Office is popular, and a large number of its users, especially in India, use unlicensed versions. Few here can afford even the cheapest Home and Student Edition which comes for around Rs. 300 after spending 5,000 to 10,000 on a Windows license (if they even bought that).

According to Mcrosoft's statistics, 500 million people around the world use Office, and that the last two years have seen s boost in sales of their entry-level product, the Home and Student edition of Office.

Now they plan to introduce another edition of Office, the Starter Edition. Much like the starter editions of Windows, they plan to have this product available only on new PCs. This version will be ad-supported, and will only include Word 2010 and Excel 2010, and offer "basic functionality for creating, viewing and editing documents."

Till now new laptop or PC buyers often found themselves with either a trial version of Microsoft Office, or a Microsoft Works, which is another office suite by Microsoft which has a rather poor workflow with the Microsoft Office suite. The new Starter edition of Office will replace Microsoft Works and eliminate the need for a trial by straight away giving people a version of Office which doesn't expire.

This is a smart way of raking in money from those who are uninterested or uninclined to purchase a full copy of the Office suite, and to get some money from an audience which would otherwise have just installed a pirated version.

Another new optimization in Microsofts approach towards Office is the introduction of a new "Product Key Card". It is essentially just the serial key you need to activate the version of Office bundled with your PC, and does away with everything else which is inessential, such as the DVD itself!

These new models are mostly to the benefit of those buying a new PC bundled with Office. For the people who already have PCs, Microsoft will offer a new Click-to-Run Office 2010 version, which will allow people to install and run a trial of Office 2010 with ease, and in fact it even uses virtualization technology which allows you to try Office 2010 even with an older version installed.

It is nice to see Microsoft realizing that piracy will not stop no matter how much protection you add, as people will find a way around it. The answer lies instead social engineering, providing people with something they need or want is such a way as to still make a profit, but Microsoft still needs to cater to those not buying new PCs, and provide a downloadable version, we're sure it'll end up on the web anyway.