Feeds

Microsoft plays ads-funded Office 2010 Starter gambit

Fully-loaded, key-card start-up

Intelligent flash storage arrays

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. ®

Top 5 reasons to deploy VMware with Tegile

More from The Register

next story
PEAK APPLE: iOS 8 is least popular Cupertino mobile OS in all of HUMAN HISTORY
'Nerd release' finally staggers past 50 per cent adoption
Microsoft to bake Skype into IE, without plugins
Redmond thinks the Object Real-Time Communications API for WebRTC is ready to roll
Microsoft promises Windows 10 will mean two-factor auth for all
Sneak peek at security features Redmond's baking into new OS
Mozilla: Spidermonkey ATE Apple's JavaScriptCore, THRASHED Google V8
Moz man claims the win on rivals' own benchmarks
Yes, Virginia, there IS a W3C HTML5 standard – as of now, that is
You asked for it! You begged for it! Then you gave up! And now it's HERE!
FTDI yanks chip-bricking driver from Windows Update, vows to fight on
Next driver to battle fake chips with 'non-invasive' methods
DEATH by PowerPoint: Microsoft warns of 0-day attack hidden in slides
Might put out patch in update, might chuck it out sooner
Ubuntu 14.10 tries pulling a Steve Ballmer on cloudy offerings
Oi, Windows, centOS and openSUSE – behave, we're all friends here
prev story

Whitepapers

Choosing cloud Backup services
Demystify how you can address your data protection needs in your small- to medium-sized business and select the best online backup service to meet your needs.
A strategic approach to identity relationship management
ForgeRock commissioned Forrester to evaluate companies’ IAM practices and requirements when it comes to customer-facing scenarios versus employee-facing ones.
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?
Saudi Petroleum chooses Tegile storage solution
A storage solution that addresses company growth and performance for business-critical applications of caseware archive and search along with other key operational systems.
How to simplify SSL certificate management
Simple steps to take control of SSL certificates across the enterprise, and recommendations centralizing certificate management throughout their lifecycle.