Feeds

'Ads-funded' Microsoft Works pilot barges onto your PC this year

Interrupts you while you work

Secure remote control for conventional and virtual desktops

Microsoft will test a free, "ad-funded" version of its Works productivity suite with selected PC manufacturers this year, in another attempt to size up on-demand services.

The pilot program will rollout during the next few months and continue into the middle of next year, Microsoft told The Register.

"Microsoft is continually looking for ways to improve its products and bring more value to customers and partners and as a result, Microsoft is initiating a pilot program featuring an ad-funded version of Microsoft Works - Microsoft Works SE 9," a spokeswoman said.

It's not entirely clear what Microsoft means by "ad-funded", although senior management has talked since 2005 of putting clickable, internet ads in the UI of Windows applications. The non-ad-funded version, Works 9.0, is currently priced $39.95.

Microsoft was attempting to clarify earlier comments made by recently appointed corporate vice president of Microsoft's search and advertising platform group Satya Nadella, who'd caused confusion by saying Microsoft had already released the ad-funded version of Microsoft Works.

Despite scouring the internet in general, and Microsoft's own Works site in particular, however, the ad-funded version could not be found.

This "very small" pilot is Microsoft's latest attempt to find new revenue and delivery models for its software, particularly Office and collaboration, under the software plus services strategy. Microsoft recently expanded an Office subscription plan in South Africa and Romania to include the latest version, Office 2007.

Already billed as a Google Docs and Spreadsheets competitor, Works SE 9 could also pose a challenge to OpenOffice and StarOffice. We emphasize could given so little is known about the Works SE 9.0 architecture or it's ability to integrate online and because so much of Microsoft's Live online offerings - into which Works SE 9 could hook - are so very embryonic.

Certainly, StarOffice - once billed as an alternative to Office by Sun Microsystems for certain groups of users - has proved a let down both in terms of functionality and roadmap. Works SE 9.0, meanwhile, couldn't do much more harm to Microsoft's existing Office business, either, given so many consumers already use Works as a cheap alternative to Office.

Many OEMs shipped Works with their PCs for free, saving customers the need to shell out several hundred dollars for a full version of Office.®

Beginner's guide to SSL certificates

More from The Register

next story
Euro Parliament VOTES to BREAK UP GOOGLE. Er, OK then
It CANNA do it, captain.They DON'T have the POWER!
Download alert: Nearly ALL top 100 Android, iOS paid apps hacked
Attack of the Clones? Yeah, but much, much scarier – report
NSA SOURCE CODE LEAK: Information slurp tools to appear online
Now you can run your own intelligence agency
Post-Microsoft, post-PC programming: The portable REVOLUTION
Code jockeys: count up and grab your fabulous tablets
Twitter App Graph exposes smartphone spyware feature
You don't want everyone to compile app lists from your fondleware? BAD LUCK
Microsoft adds video offering to Office 365. Oh NOES, you'll need Adobe Flash
Lovely presentations... but not on your Flash-hating mobe
prev story

Whitepapers

10 ways wire data helps conquer IT complexity
IT teams can automatically detect problems across the IT environment, spot data theft, select unique pieces of transaction payloads to send to a data source, and more.
Getting started with customer-focused identity management
Learn why identity is a fundamental requirement to digital growth, and how without it there is no way to identify and engage customers in a meaningful way.
How to determine if cloud backup is right for your servers
Two key factors, technical feasibility and TCO economics, that backup and IT operations managers should consider when assessing cloud backup.
Reg Reader Research: SaaS based Email and Office Productivity Tools
Read this Reg reader report which provides advice and guidance for SMBs towards the use of SaaS based email and Office productivity tools.
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.