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Microsoft Readies Ad-Supported Office Starter 2010 235

Posted by timothy
from the low-intensity-conflict dept.
Martin writes with this excerpt from Ars Technica: "Microsoft Office Starter 2010 will be not available for purchase; it will only come pre-loaded on new PCs. It includes basic functionality so users can view, edit, and create documents via Office Word Starter 2010 and Office Excel Starter 2010. Not only are these programs ad-supported, but Microsoft claims they are 'designed for casual Office users,' who apparently will be perfectly fine with reduced-functionality and ad-supported software."
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Microsoft Readies Ad-Supported Office Starter 2010

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  • by kvezach (1199717) on Friday October 09, 2009 @02:12AM (#29689373)
    You think the ads will last long? Bring it on.
    • by ozmanjusri (601766) <aussie_bob@NOsPam.hotmail.com> on Friday October 09, 2009 @02:32AM (#29689455) Journal
      You think the ads will last long? Bring it on.

      Have you tried Office 10?

      Unless you're desperate to stick with Microsoft products or are part of a large organisation which can use the collaboration features, there's better options out there. It's a huge, slow, clumsy tool, not something that welcomes casual use.

      I'd suggest you get hold of the tech preview and see for yourself.

      • by deniable (76198)
        Office 10, that's so 2002. I think you mean Office 13.
      • Huge, Slow, Clumsy? Have YOU tried it?

        Minimize the Ribbon and rely on the contextual menu that comes up when you highlight text and the interface is as small as notepad.

        It takes up almost exactly 300MB of space. Which is comparable or smaller than OpenOffice.

        I don't know what part of it you find slow. On every system I've run it on, even my pretty old laptop it seems snappy and responsive.

        And if Office10 Home and Student is priced similar to Office 2007 then you'll probably be able to find a copy priced a

      • by PCM2 (4486)

        Speaking as one who HAS tried Office 10 -- and many of the alternatives -- I'd love to hear you explain what you're talking about.

    • Clippy pushes Viagra (Score:4, Interesting)

      by icebike (68054) on Friday October 09, 2009 @03:56AM (#29689813)

      Clippy [wikipedia.org] is back, and he's pushing Viagra right to your desktop.

      If I wanted ad supported docs I'd use Google. In fact I prefer it, because its at least up front about the ads.

      Google Docs is more than adequate for the casual user.

      OpenOffice is still free, and easily able to handle book length documents, huge spreadsheets, etc.

      So where does Microsoft think they will find a market for this stuff?

      • by Nathrael (1251426)
        They don't find a market, they abuse their OS monopoly to create one.
      • by advocate_one (662832) on Friday October 09, 2009 @06:54AM (#29690511)

        So where does Microsoft think they will find a market for this stuff?

        by having OEMs pre-load it in exchange for discounts off the OEM price of windows

        Basically, they'll abuse their monopoly position and it will take several years for the US DOJ and EU to bring them to heel... other markets are stuffed because they don't have "effective" anti-monopoly commissions to protect customers and OEMS from abusive multi-nationals (I say "effective" because the US market isn't working properly either...)

  • A version of Office with commercials! Woot! Seriously, apps I'll never need or use, and links I'll never click. What a waste of time, energy, and resources.
  • by maxwell demon (590494) on Friday October 09, 2009 @02:20AM (#29689405) Journal

    Well, let's buy ad space on it, and then advertise for Open Office.org!

  • by Anonymous Coward on Friday October 09, 2009 @02:21AM (#29689411)

    Hmm, sounds exactly like Open Office, just without the ads.... I'll stick with OO. I'm a "casual" office user and haven't touched MS Office in five years.

  • if I wanted... (Score:4, Insightful)

    by Odinlake (1057938) on Friday October 09, 2009 @02:49AM (#29689533)

    ...a slightly more annoying Office with slightly less functionality for free I'd use Open Office.

    Oh wait, I do!

  • by Zakabog (603757) <john@nosPAm.jmaug.com> on Friday October 09, 2009 @02:53AM (#29689563)
    This doesn't sound all too bad. The ads would likely bother most of the slashdot crowd but then most of us are either using open office, a pirated copy of office, or when we're forced to at work, legitimate purchased copies of office. Microsoft finally offering a free copy of office with new computers with the stipulation that there will be ads and limited functionality is still better than nothing. It really kills a sale of a new computer when a person asks "Will this have Microsoft Word on it?" and you say "Well no... that will ll be $100 extra..." And some people just aren't open to the idea of an office alternative (open office.) I'm surprised they haven't done something like this sooner, though I'm willing to bet that the growing popularity of open office has been pushing them in the direction of offering a "free" version of office.
    • Seriously in this day and age there is no reason to have a pirate copy of an office suite. Open Office or Symphony work fine and have 0 adverts.

      I don't know anyone who would having the choice of free Office software with and without adverts would take the first choice.

      Although I can see Clippy now.. "Hi I see your trying to write a letter to your girlfriend, would you like to buy some Viagra?"

  • Really, ads for what? Windows? Office? Like, in case they haven't heard of it?
  • I think "casual" office users would be more than happy with something like Open Office, or Google Docs. There are free alternatives that don't have ads, why would someone use this? If it gets put on PCs automatically it will get used by users too lazy or uninformed to find something better, but doesn't MS already have a product they've been putting on new PCs called MS Works?

    • by RLiegh (247921)

      There are free alternatives that don't have ads, why would someone use this?

      • GRRRRRR... (Score:2, Insightful)

        by RLiegh (247921)

        that's what I get for posting to slashdot while I'm on the phone.
        To finish my thought -the reason why is very simple.
        Piss fucking simple:
        COMPATIBILITY

    • Re:Alternatives (Score:4, Insightful)

      by moon3 (1530265) on Friday October 09, 2009 @03:20AM (#29689677)
      more than happy with something like Open Office, or Google Docs

      Most users actually use what is pre-installed, a clear attempt for MS Office to gain new grounds. Why do you think the IE6 is so widespread still ? It is the default bundled browser on Windows XP. This is not a good news for Open Office or Google.
      • by gbjbaanb (229885)

        Yup, but I give it 6 months before the anti-trust lawsuit starts up again and MS is forced to put a 'which brow^H^H^H^HOffice suite do you want to use' the first time you try to run it.

        (and have you noticed how they keep trying to force their stuff on you, I installed MSN, and the excellent apatch to remove the really annoying ads, and it pops up a dialog saying 'set Bing as your default search provider and prevent other programs from altering this'. I'm not sure I like that.)

    • why would someone use this?

      Because they already have this and it does what they want it to do. The same reason they stick with Windows and Outlook and Media Player and IE.

  • by iamacat (583406) on Friday October 09, 2009 @03:22AM (#29689681)

    By experimenting with starter edition, non-technical users will conclude that MS Word is unstable (software with ads usually hangs while trying to load them), lacks essential features and of course looks junky. We can then take pity on them and offer to install "new Windows [ubuntu.com] that comes with no ads and fully functional software".

    You would think Microsoft would learn its lesson after shipping with a media player that doesn't play DVDs and can't rip/burn your own CDs to standard MP3s. Apple, take cue for a new "I am a Mac" ad featuring a comparison to iWork.

    • by muffen (321442)

      ...software with ads usually hangs while trying to load them, lacks essential features and of course looks junky

      The publisher of the app is probably more relevant than the "ad supported" part in regards to "hangs while trying to load".

      You cant say "will lack essential features" when you dont know what will be in there or what people who will actually use this version requires. Personally I think they are happy enough being able to read word docs and write the occasional one-pager.

      I very much doubt it

    • I actually had my first experience last week where an older person figured out Ubuntu faster than Windows.

      He demanded I install it on his laptop, as well.

  • by bradbury (33372) <Robert.Bradbury@gmai[ ]om ['l.c' in gap]> on Friday October 09, 2009 @03:28AM (#29689701) Homepage

    The question will be whether you can uninstall it? I've got better things to do with my disk space and network bandwidth than support/tolerate adware. Do I have to pay for the Ads to be downloaded if my Internet access is over a 3G network???.

    For that matter is it possible in Windows 7+ to uninstall IE (or the anti-virus/Windows update/big-brother/similar software)?

    Can one get back to the state where it is more like a Windows 2000 system (I still have my Win2K install disks...) or even Windows 98 or 95 [1]?

    Sigh, when will someone sue computer manufacturers (HP, Dell [2], Apple, etc.) so they will all provide hardware without software and end the paternalistic (monopolistic) HW+SW bundling practices?

    1. Though in theory one really wouldn't want to run 95 or 98 because their unprotected nature is presumably what started the madness...
    2. Though I recently noticed Dell may be returning to providing a Linux option...

    • Re: (Score:3, Insightful)

      by cbhacking (979169)

      Aside from taking this opportunity to mention that anybody seriously considering removing OEM crapware manually would be FAR better off reformatting (it's faster, there's no risk of something left behind, and shouldn't cost anything - the media is essentially free, all that matters is the license key conveniently printed on a sticker) I'm sure that this will be removable. Office (in all its flavors) has always been pretty easy to uninstall, and there's no particular reason they'd do differently here. It's n

  • by j-beda (85386) on Friday October 09, 2009 @04:11AM (#29689883) Homepage

    It seems like a pretty obvious move - with the advent of so many free non-MS alternatives I think Microsoft has a legitimate fear that they will become just one of the options in the "office suite" space, rather than the de facto standard. Getting their "free" offering onto as many desktops as possible MIGHT protect that status.

    The open source alternatives however are hard to "compete" against, since they are generally going to continue to live even with a vanishingly small "market share" - as long as enough technical types are willing to support them.

    I think in the long term, MS and others are not going to be able to justify to the consumer the high prices for their offerings that they have been able to up to now, and that low cost (perhaps free/ad supported) is the only way they are going to be able to maintain any level of profitability and stay in business.

  • by arctanx (1187415) on Friday October 09, 2009 @04:42AM (#29690005)

    Yes, this is not a product which any Slashdot readers are going to use in any serious capacity. It will, however, be used by a bunch of not computer-savvy people who just bought a computer and saw that it came with Microsoft Office pre-installed. We already saw the confusion that came about when Windows was split into half a dozen different versions -- now they can get it from Office too.

    The Slashdot readers _can_ expect to be getting phone calls asking where the word count feature or the two column button is on their new computer. They'll probably be cheesed off when you eventually work out what the problem is and they discover that they have to lay down another couple of hundred dollars for real Office.

    On a side note, I don't think ads will be a problem at all for the target audience. If anyone has seen Windows Live Messenger lately, you'll understand what passes for acceptable for advertising in desktop applications these days.

    • by ignavus (213578)

      ...they have to lay down another couple of hundred dollars for real Office.

      Perfect opportunity to install real OpenOffice without laying down any more dollars.

      Thanks Microsoft.

    • by cbhacking (979169)

      For what it's worth, Office has had significant SKU differentiation (usually in which portions of the full suite were included, sometimes in what features of individual programs were available) for probably over a decade now. Nobody seems overly bothered by it. Each versions spells out what is and is not included, and the one that most people find most necessary (Word) is included in every suite SKU (you can also buy the individual programs, if none of the suites fit your needs).

    • by gbjbaanb (229885)

      I've seen Windows Live Messenger ads... until I installed APatch and removed them. lovely.

  • "I see you are typing f*ck... Would you like to see related ads from our valued partners??"

    Welcome back Clippie!

  • Adverts coming from an internet server? A quick fix to C:\Windows\System32\Drivers\etc\hosts should fix that...
    • by asdf7890 (1518587)

      Adverts coming from an internet server? A quick fix to C:\Windows\System32\Drivers\etc\hosts should fix that...

      I'm sure they've thought of that, and will have it check to see if the address found for the server name actually returns the right stuff and if not it'll try a short list of fixed IP addresses like WindowsUpdate does to avoid being redirected by DNS poisoning attacks.

      If you have an outgoing firewall on the other hand (say, an iptables setup on your router or a third party firewall on the machine itself), some rules there would get rid of the adverts. Though maybe the apps would disable themselves if it was

  • Thank goodness I won't have to worry about relatives with MS Works any more!

  • Didn't Microsoft get slapped by the court for bundling IE with Windows, leveraging their monopoly and (nearly) driving Netscape out of Business? How is bundling Office any different, and why would the OpenOffice/StarOffice people have to tolerate it?
  • by brennanw (5761) on Friday October 09, 2009 @08:42AM (#29690921) Homepage Journal

    How exactly does a spreadsheet fit into the "casual user" profile?

    "Oh, I was just screwing around one day, modeling possible amortization breakdowns on various theoretical mortgages. You know, just to kill time before I finished up the index and the table of references in my letter to grandma..."

  • You can still format the machine and reinstall!

  • by Tomsk70 (984457) on Friday October 09, 2009 @09:14AM (#29691263)

    "......who apparently will be perfectly fine with reduced-functionality and ad-supported software."

    Apparently. Right. No-one *at all* has whinged about how many features they don't actually need in Word/ Excel, and yet once that's being addressed, it's now a problem. Like your average buyer will complain about getting basic Word and Excel over Works (a fully featured Works, which I'm sure eveyrone would prefer)..

    And can we also cut the crap with Open Office? It's been bandied about as Vastly Superior for *years* now....and I've yet to work at a company that's seriously using it. Big it up once >20% of word processing users agree with you (which means OO still has a loooong way to go).

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