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MS to offer free Office Starter Edition

MS to offer free Office Starter Edition

Microsoft's Office 2010 Starter Edition offers "limited functionality," but will be available free of charge on selected OEM systems.

Microsoft has confirmed rumours that up-coming Windows-based PCs will be shipped with a completely free edition of Office 2010 dubbed the "Starter Edition."

As reported over on The Register, the Microsoft Office 2010 Starter Edition will only be available as a pre-loaded option on 'Office Ready' PCs from major OEMs, but unlike the version of Office 2007 currently pre-installed will have no expiration date.

Instead, the software will have limited functionality and be supported by an advertising framework, of which the company offered little explanation. Clearly Microsoft has a fine line to walk, with the advertising needing to be obnoxious enough to convince your average user to pay for an upgrade but discrete enough that they don't get turned off Office altogether in favour of something else.

The free release will come with an easy upgrade path for those who chose to remove the adverts: with the full version of Office already pre-loaded on the machine's hard-drive, consumers will simply need to buy a card containing a licence code from their local retailer - a similar system to that used for the company's existing Medialess Licence Kits for Office 2007.

So far Microsoft has yet to clarify exactly how limited the "limited functionality" in Office 2010 Starter Edition is, but with the vast majority of home users rarely venturing outside the confines of Word - and possibly Excel - it could well offer an alternative to Wordpad for many.

Can you see a free, ad-supported version of Office gaining traction in the marketplace, or does it all hinge on exactly what the company means by "limited functionality?" Share your thoughts over in the forums.

23 Comments

Discuss in the forums Reply
NeedlesKane 9th October 2009, 10:36 Quote
This makes me wish that openoffice was more widely known....
matee 9th October 2009, 11:10 Quote
Fine with me, as long as they will not throw adds in the middle of my text. If they display them somewhere in the program - why not.
yakyb 9th October 2009, 11:14 Quote
office 2003 was very much comparable with OO however i think 2007 went miles ahead of it and is easily worth the £50 to buy it
yakyb 9th October 2009, 11:15 Quote
hang on a sec does this mean they have finally gotten rid of works!!!
mi1ez 9th October 2009, 12:22 Quote
Quote:
Originally Posted by yakyb
hang on a sec does this mean they have finally gotten rid of works!!!

I really hope so. Really, REALLY hope so!
Azh_fx 9th October 2009, 12:25 Quote
ms works was rubbish, i think i last used it in the windows 3.11 days or windows 98
Combinho 9th October 2009, 13:47 Quote
Open Office is the answer. I can't imagine buying another MS Office ever again.
Shagbag 9th October 2009, 14:14 Quote
Quote:
Originally Posted by yakyb
hang on a sec does this mean they have finally gotten rid of works!!!
That's the idea behind the Starter Edition.

Personally, I think this is a great idea. If the full Office edition really is installed by default and requires just a keycode to activate it/upgrade, then I'm more than happy to let the open source community crack it and spread the joy.
RichCreedy 9th October 2009, 14:18 Quote
the advertisong is mild, i use microsoft office accounting 2009, the free one

there is an upgrade button, and when you want to do certain things the free one cant it advises you to ugrade for more options
GoodBytes 9th October 2009, 14:31 Quote
Good news... Microsoft cancels Microsoft Works - as reported by TrustedReview
raGe82 9th October 2009, 19:00 Quote
Quote:
Originally Posted by Shagbag
If the full Office edition really is installed by default and requires just a keycode to activate it/upgrade, then I'm more than happy to let the open source community crack it and spread the joy.
Please, don't put 'stealing' and 'open source' in the same sentence - open source community is against stealing, especially when it comes to stealing your rights.

On-topic - looks like Microsoft feels a bit uncomfortable with OpenOffice getting more and more users.

EDIT: ofcourse when I say 'stealing' I mean 'crack and give away'
crazyceo 9th October 2009, 22:35 Quote
Quote:
Originally Posted by raGe82


On-topic - looks like Microsoft feels a bit uncomfortable with OpenOffice getting more and more users.

LMFAO! this is hilarious. Open Office is the most useless piece of hippee anti-microsoft lovin' nonsense.

Nice one Microsoft, shutting down OpenOffice with one easy free giveaway! Well Done!
GoodBytes 9th October 2009, 22:59 Quote
I don't think it's Microsoft goal to compete with Open Office... but rather compete with Core Word Perfect and other office suit that require purchasing. If they wanted to aim at Open Office they would render Word Pad more complete and provide Excel Lite to Windows 7, without any ads in them.
Matticus 9th October 2009, 23:41 Quote
Quote:
Originally Posted by crazyceo
LMFAO! this is hilarious. Open Office is the most useless piece of hippee anti-microsoft lovin' nonsense.

Nice one Microsoft, shutting down OpenOffice with one easy free giveaway! Well Done!

Pro MS much? I bet you have never even used OpenOffice, if you had you would see that it is a perfectly usable and great FREE office suite.

Before you call me a hippy, I use office 2007 and I love it, but when I use my eee I use OpenOffice on it and for general word processing there is nothing wrong with it, the spreadsheet program is also pretty good.
thehippoz 10th October 2009, 00:50 Quote
whats the difference between 2007 and 2010
GoodBytes 10th October 2009, 01:24 Quote
Quote:
Originally Posted by thehippoz
whats the difference between 2007 and 2010

They are many article on the net about Office 2010.
I was invited to Microsoft Office 2010 Tech Preview and I can say it has Win7 integration, it's in 64-bit, it seams faster to open to me, ribbon bar is pass all over each application of Office, Groove has been renamed to SharePoint, bug fixes, able to save into PDF, ability to customize the ribbon bar as you want (including creating your own tab), OneNote is now perfectly usable for laptops, and no longer Tablet PC exclusive, and easier to use as well, and much more.
thehippoz 10th October 2009, 01:31 Quote
ah cool.. thanks
Shagbag 10th October 2009, 07:33 Quote
Quote:
Originally Posted by GoodBytes
it's in 64-bit... able to save into PDF
It's about time. What next? 3D effects in PowerPoint? **yawns**. They're still playing catch-up with OpenOffice.
The_Beast 10th October 2009, 08:19 Quote
My Microsoft Office 2000 (yes you read that right) works just fine and I have no plans on upgrading until I go off to college
TSR2 10th October 2009, 14:18 Quote
@The Beast: I agree, I also used 2000 and if I can be bothered I will copy all the files and registry settings across to my new machine and hope it works. I personally prefer MS Office to OpenOffice but don't think MS Office is worth even £39 (heavily discounted academic). It does, after all, cost more than Windows itself. As long as the ads aren't too intrusive, I wouldn't mind using this 'starter' as long as its not totally crippled like Windows starter editions. But as the article suggests its only available on an OEM install of Windows, I probably won't get it.
crazyceo 11th October 2009, 09:12 Quote
Quote:
Originally Posted by Matticus
Quote:
Originally Posted by crazyceo
LMFAO! this is hilarious. Open Office is the most useless piece of hippee anti-microsoft lovin' nonsense.

Nice one Microsoft, shutting down OpenOffice with one easy free giveaway! Well Done!

Pro MS much? I bet you have never even used OpenOffice, if you had you would see that it is a perfectly usable and great FREE office suite.

Before you call me a hippy, I use office 2007 and I love it, but when I use my eee I use OpenOffice on it and for general word processing there is nothing wrong with it, the spreadsheet program is also pretty good.

Yes I've used it hence my comment which I stand by 100%.
BeBob Esq 13th October 2009, 12:04 Quote
I personally tend to favour SSuite Office’s free office suites. Their software also don’t need to run on Java or .NET, like so many open source office suites, so it makes their software very small and efficient.

http://www.ssuitesoft.com
Shagbag 14th October 2009, 10:29 Quote
Quote:
Originally Posted by crazyceo
Yes I've used it hence my comment which I stand by 100%.
Yep. Opinions are like a_s_s_holes - everyone's got one.
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