Feeds

Microsoft dabbles in Office rental

Not a real estate deal

Providing a secure and efficient Helpdesk

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. ®

Internet Security Threat Report 2014

More from The Register

next story
Microsoft on the Threshold of a new name for Windows next week
Rebranded OS reportedly set to be flung open by Redmond
Apple: SO sorry for the iOS 8.0.1 UPDATE BUNGLE HORROR
Apple kills 'upgrade'. Hey, Microsoft. You sure you want to be like these guys?
SMASH the Bash bug! Apple and Red Hat scramble for patch batches
'Applying multiple security updates is extremely difficult'
Business is back, baby! Hasta la VISTA, Win 8... Oh, yeah, Windows 9
Forget touchscreen millennials, Microsoft goes for mouse crowd
ARM gives Internet of Things a piece of its mind – the Cortex-M7
32-bit core packs some DSP for VIP IoT CPU LOL
Lotus Notes inventor Ozzie invents app to talk to people on your phone
Imagine that. Startup floats with voice collab app for Win iPhone
prev story

Whitepapers

Providing a secure and efficient Helpdesk
A single remote control platform for user support is be key to providing an efficient helpdesk. Retain full control over the way in which screen and keystroke data is transmitted.
Intelligent flash storage arrays
Tegile Intelligent Storage Arrays with IntelliFlash helps IT boost storage utilization and effciency while delivering unmatched storage savings and performance.
Beginner's guide to SSL certificates
De-mystify the technology involved and give you the information you need to make the best decision when considering your online security options.
Security for virtualized datacentres
Legacy security solutions are inefficient due to the architectural differences between physical and virtual environments.
Secure remote control for conventional and virtual desktops
Balancing user privacy and privileged access, in accordance with compliance frameworks and legislation. Evaluating any potential remote control choice.