Feeds

Microsoft flogs subscriptions to the unwary and confused

Bad omens

The essential guide to IT transformation

Comment There's no such thing as a coincidence or a missed opportunity in the world of Microsoft, and this is no ordinary week.

Just days before thousands of partners from across the globe descend on Microsoft's annual World Wide Partner Conference in the heat of Texas, Microsoft announced licensing programs clearly intended to whet their palates.

The guttural sounding Equipt wraps a version of Office in with Microsoft's security update service and online storage - Windows Live OneCare and Office Live Workspaces, respectively. For big businesses, Microsoft also announced that Select Plus Volume Licensing is due later this year.

Microsoft will likely promote both as services that partners can sell, as they mean subscriptions that provide predictable and guaranteed revenue. There are fundamental issues though that mean that next week you should put your fingers in your ears and sing "la, la-la la, la" when Microsoft starts talking.

Let's take Equipt first. Misery, it's said, loves company. Microsoft has picked Circuit City to pimp the service. The US retailer is struggling to find a buyer for its business, after Blockbuster backed out of a proposed deal and remains in the wake of rival CompUSA's closure. The fact that Circuit City is the first to sign up is a bad omen in a branch of the IT ecosystem that Microsoft has had nailed for years: the high street channel.

Microsoft's services are also not just confusing, they are in a state of confusion and always changing. Do you want to get caught in the middle of that?

Office Live is targeted at small businesses. Or so we're told. Yet why is Microsoft making it available under Equipt with the Home and Student 2007 edition of Office?

Business users interested in Office will opt for the full suite. Also, being naturally fiscally shrewd types, they will pay for the lifetime license, not for subscriptions that end up costing more in the long run.

Microsoft is clearly trying to offer some kind of desktop and cloud-based service here, akin to Apple's combo of the Mac/iPhone and MobileMe. But take a look at Office Live and the Home and Student versions of Office and you'll quickly see that these are weak imitations from a finished look and features perspective.

5 things you didn’t know about cloud backup

Next page: The Vista catch

More from The Register

next story
The Return of BSOD: Does ANYONE trust Microsoft patches?
Sysadmins, you're either fighting fires or seen as incompetents now
China hopes home-grown OS will oust Microsoft
Doesn't much like Apple or Google, either
Linux turns 23 and Linus Torvalds celebrates as only he can
No, not with swearing, but by controlling the release cycle
This is how I set about making a fortune with my own startup
Would you leave your well-paid job to chase your dream?
Microsoft cries UNINSTALL in the wake of Blue Screens of Death™
Cache crash causes contained choloric calamity
Eat up Martha! Microsoft slings handwriting recog into OneNote on Android
Freehand input on non-Windows kit for the first time
Linux kernel devs made to finger their dongles before contributing code
Two-factor auth enabled for Kernel.org repositories
prev story

Whitepapers

Implementing global e-invoicing with guaranteed legal certainty
Explaining the role local tax compliance plays in successful supply chain management and e-business and how leading global brands are addressing this.
5 things you didn’t know about cloud backup
IT departments are embracing cloud backup, but there’s a lot you need to know before choosing a service provider. Learn all the critical things you need to know.
Why and how to choose the right cloud vendor
The benefits of cloud-based storage in your processes. Eliminate onsite, disk-based backup and archiving in favor of cloud-based data protection.
Top 8 considerations to enable and simplify mobility
In this whitepaper learn how to successfully add mobile capabilities simply and cost effectively.
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?