Feeds

Microsoft plays ads-funded Office 2010 Starter gambit

Fully-loaded, key-card start-up

Top three mobile application threats

Microsoft plans a brand-new edition of its forthcoming Office 2010 in a push to loosen customers' vice-like grip on old versions of its productivity suite an upgrade.

The company has announced Office 2010 Starter Edition, a functionally limited version of Office 2010. It will come pre-loaded on only new PCs and be will funded by advertising.

Crucially, Office 2010 will replace the ginger-haired child that is Microsoft Works and introduce customers to the Office features such as the ribbon interface "with a simple path to upgrade to a fully featured version of Office 2010 directly from within the product."

Office corporate vice president Takeshi Numoto blogged: "Office Starter 2010 will provide new PC owners with immediate exposure to the Office 2010 experience on new PCs right out of the box."

Microsoft is also streamlining the purchase experience for full versions of Office 2010. Brand new PCs will come pre-installed with Office 2010 Professional, Home and Student and Home and Business that will be unlocked and activated using a key card sold through "major electronic retail outlets".

The company did not say what OEM's PCs would be pre-installed with Office 2010 or what retailers would sell the product key cards. The card, though, will replace the need for customers to physically go out and buy and install DVD media on their machine.

Customers with an old PC, meanwhile, will be offered the opportunity to download Office 2010 through what Microsoft called Click-to-Run technology. Click-to-Run will provide updates and install Office 2010 in a virtual instance on the desktop along side your existing copy of Office.

Office 2010 is due for public beta later this year. As with versions of Office past, Microsoft's primary challenge will lay in convincing customers to ditch old versions of Office that are good enough for their needs.

Microsoft might well feel Starter Edition and Click-to-Run will provide the foot in the door Office 2010 needs to drive upgrades and conversions. It's not clear, though, why - once customers have the basic features in Starter Edition such as creating, viewing and editing - they would want to bother upgrading, as create, view and edit is what the vast majority of customers use a productivity suite for.

Microsoft did not provide further details, but it seems Microsoft will either rely on the presence and positioning of those ads to push people on to a paid and ads-free version, or use some other incentive such as limited-time availability or by restricting the features to make the suite impractical for use on a prolonged basis.

Bootnote

Microsoft said Wednesday Exchange Server 2010, the server email companion to Office's Outlook, is finished and ready for final release at next month's TechEd Europe conference. You can read more here. ®

Seven Steps to Software Security

More from The Register

next story
NO MORE ALL CAPS and other pleasures of Visual Studio 14
Unpicking a packed preview that breaks down ASP.NET
Captain Kirk sets phaser to SLAUGHTER after trying new Facebook app
William Shatner less-than-impressed by Zuck's celebrity-only app
Apple fanbois SCREAM as update BRICKS their Macbook Airs
Ragegasm spills over as firmware upgrade kills machines
Cheer up, Nokia fans. It can start making mobes again in 18 months
The real winner of the Nokia sale is *drumroll* ... Nokia
Mozilla fixes CRITICAL security holes in Firefox, urges v31 upgrade
Misc memory hazards 'could be exploited' - and guess what, one's a Javascript vuln
Put down that Oracle database patch: It could cost $23,000 per CPU
On-by-default INMEMORY tech a boon for developers ... as long as they can afford it
Google shows off new Chrome OS look
Athena springs full-grown from Chromium project's head
prev story

Whitepapers

Top three mobile application threats
Prevent sensitive data leakage over insecure channels or stolen mobile devices.
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.
Boost IT visibility and business value
How building a great service catalog relieves pressure points and demonstrates the value of IT service management.
Designing a Defense for Mobile Applications
Learn about the various considerations for defending mobile applications - from the application architecture itself to the myriad testing technologies.
Build a business case: developing custom apps
Learn how to maximize the value of custom applications by accelerating and simplifying their development.