Feeds

Microsoft dabbles in Office rental

Not a real estate deal

Internet Security Threat Report 2014

Days after foisting another generously priced version of Office on users, Microsoft is reportedly flirting with a pay-as-you go version of its desktop productivity suite.

According to veteran Microsoft watcher Mary Jo Foley, lucky customers in South Africa, Mexico and Romania are testing Office 2003, charged at $15 per month. The company will decide in coming months whether to extend trials to Office 2007.

The trial follows a similar scheme for Windows last year, called FlexGo.

The news comes days after Microsoft updated its desktop productivity franchise by launching Office 2007, which costs almost $700 at list price.

Before you get too excited, remember this. It would be a crude simplification to suggest Microsoft is responding to pressure from so-called Office 2.0 alternatives that live on the internet, as epitomized by Google Docs & Spreadsheets.

Rather, this is the latest safari conducted by Microsoft into an idea it's kicked around since the late 1990s - for new ways to deliver Office. Since then, Microsoft has tried - and failed - to realize hosted versions. The company has run several pilots but a fledgling service in Australia was yanked in the face of overwhelming user indifference.

Already, Microsoft's new pilot seems designed to go the same way. Users must return to their system builder to purchase more rental time, or risk being able to do nothing but view their Office documents. In the era of painless online service, it seems the concept of not putting the burden on the end users has yet to dawn on Microsoft. ®

Secure remote control for conventional and virtual desktops

More from The Register

next story
Netscape Navigator - the browser that started it all - turns 20
It was 20 years ago today, Marc Andreeesen taught the band to play
Sway: Microsoft's new Office app doesn't have an Undo function
Content aggregation, meet the workplace ... oh
Sign off my IT project or I’ll PHONE your MUM
Honestly, it’s a piece of piss
Return of the Jedi – Apache reclaims web server crown
.london, .hamburg and .公司 - that's .com in Chinese - storm the web server charts
NetWare sales revive in China thanks to that man Snowden
If it ain't Microsoft, it's in fashion behind the Great Firewall
Chrome 38's new HTML tag support makes fatties FIT and SKINNIER
First browser to protect networks' bandwith using official spec
Admins! Never mind POODLE, there're NEW OpenSSL bugs to splat
Four new patches for open-source crypto libraries
prev story

Whitepapers

Forging a new future with identity relationship management
Learn about ForgeRock's next generation IRM platform and how it is designed to empower CEOS's and enterprises to engage with consumers.
Why cloud backup?
Combining the latest advancements in disk-based backup with secure, integrated, cloud technologies offer organizations fast and assured recovery of their critical enterprise data.
Win a year’s supply of chocolate
There is no techie angle to this competition so we're not going to pretend there is, but everyone loves chocolate so who cares.
High Performance for All
While HPC is not new, it has traditionally been seen as a specialist area – is it now geared up to meet more mainstream requirements?
Intelligent flash storage arrays
Tegile Intelligent Storage Arrays with IntelliFlash helps IT boost storage utilization and effciency while delivering unmatched storage savings and performance.