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Thursday, 03 July 2008 07:19

Subscription-based Office coming soon

Written by David Stellmack

Image

To launch in mid-July for $70 per year

Microsoft will finally launch its new subscription-based Office model and throw in Microsoft Live One Care for $70 per year starting in mid-July.

At least at first, brick and mortar retailer Circuit City will become the first company to start selling Office in this new subscription model. The agreement with Circuit City is not exclusive, so expect other retailers to jump on the band wagon, as well.

Microsoft has been working on launching this new subscription-based model for some time. The subscription-based program was developed under the Microsoft codename “Albany” and will be sold under the name of Microsoft Office Equipt bundle, which will include Word, Excel, PowerPoint, OneNote, and OneCare.

In addition to those applications, Microsoft will throw in a variety of free Windows Live applications (that you could download for free anyway).

The concept behind the move to a subscription model is an attempt to reach consumers who simply just “don’t want to spend the money” or don’t feel that they would use the applications enough to justify the high price tag.

One advantage to the subscription model that Microsoft is trying to move toward is that version upgrades would be included. This means that the typical user who has already purchased Office 2007 might, for example, have to pay $200+ to upgrade to the next version of Office when released.

Those that are paying under the subscription plan would get the upgrade included with their annual subscription fee. Of course, Microsoft is positioning this as a cost savings.

Microsoft also sees the subscription model as a way to cut down on piracy, with users not being as tempted to use the same software on multiple computers or pass older versions of Office down to other computers when they have been put out to pasture.

The Equipt subscription version of Microsoft Office comes licensed for use on three computers for non-commercial use, in the same way that the Home and Student version of Office 2007 is licensed.

Because it is cheaper up front, Microsoft is hopeful that the subscription model will catch on with consumers. Still, many consumers have already voiced the opinion that they are not interested in the subscription-based model for Office and would prefer to purchase a version in the traditional way.

At least for the time being, Microsoft claims that they have no plans to move to offering the subscription model as the only option, but it seems that they have made it no secret that they view this as a better long term strategy for filling Microsoft coffers in the future.

Last modified on Thursday, 03 July 2008 07:29

David Stellmack

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