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Ad supported Works arrives

by on21 April 2008


Microsoft tries ad supported software

Microsoft Works has always been somewhat of a strange beast. I know many who could not afford Microsoft Office that turned to Microsoft Works because they only really needed a version of Microsoft Word to use and some versions of Microsoft Works included an older version of Microsoft Word. We guess being cheap and legal is better than piracy.

Microsoft has tried a lot of ways to market Microsoft Works over the years. While it is obvious that Works has been the domain of a lot of OEMs over the years who bundle it as shovel ware on computers, in some ways Works just never recaptured the sales and glory that it enjoyed in the early years of the software industry and this has never been so true since Microsoft started selling Student/Teacher Editions of Microsoft Office.

Trying to boost the revenue of Microsoft Works, Microsoft is going to try a new concept which is an ad-funded version of Works which will be known as Works SE. The does not stand for “Special Edition,” instead it stands for “Sponsored Edition.” The Works SE package will be available to OEMs for free to load on computers, but instead of paying a few dollars for a version of Works to load on their system, Works SE will be free to the OEMs, but they will not get a cut of the ad revenue that Microsoft will generate with this version of Works.

Microsoft insiders have been telling us that they have been looking at doing some sort of an ad-sponsored revenue generating product for some time, but they have not really figured out how to apply this model in the real world until now. Late last year, Microsoft started talking about the possibilities of ad-sponsored products, but was, of course, short on real world details. Still, Microsoft is really approaching this as more of a test or a pilot to figure out if they can make this model work for them.

According to various reports, Microsoft will be making Works SE available in the U.S., Canada, Poland, U.K. and France. Still, it will be only available through select OEMs who choose to offer it on their systems. Reports seem to suggest that Packard Bell will be offering it on some systems in the U.K. and Sony will be offering it on some systems in the U.S. and Canada. It will be positioned to compete against the pre-paid Microsoft Office cards that are being sold in some markets.

Last modified on 21 April 2008
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