back to article 'Ads-funded' Microsoft Works pilot barges onto your PC this year

Microsoft will test a free, "ad-funded" version of its Works productivity suite with selected PC manufacturers this year, in another attempt to size up on-demand services. The pilot program will rollout during the next few months and continue into the middle of next year, Microsoft told The Register. "Microsoft is …


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  1. Jason Harvey

    Microsoft Works

    isn't that like the ultimate oxymoron?

  2. Morely Dotes

    Stealing our personal data wasn't enough?

    Now Steve Ballmer wants to steal our time, our bandwidth, and our eyeballs?

    Anyone wanting a Microsoft Office work-alike package should check out _Computerworld_

    Don't pay more than you have to - packages range from *free* on up. *NONE* of them tried to force-feed advertising to their users.

  3. Greg Bromage

    As for how it will operate

    Windows 2008, and the new version of Remote Desktop protocol, is tipped to include the Citrix-like embedding of a remote application as part of the user's desktop.

    So it would probably work using like that, with it appearing as a local app to the end user.

    What's more worrying is the possibly of a certain remotely-hosted animated paperclip.....

  4. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    I never thought MS Works could be made worse

    ...but there you go.

  5. Ed

    Has anyone actually bought Works?

    Has anyone actually bought Works? I've only ever seen it bundled and never seen it at retail... Its an annoying waste of space - it introduces more incompatible file formats that just confuse matters. They'd be better of using Office as a base and making "Office Lite"...

  6. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    Now you know what your next "security update" contains

    A large part of the userbase has been deceived into letting MS updates happen automatically, and even after the WG(non)A stunt that remains the case.

    So expect that update Real Soon Now - because it brings revenue and the EULA will probably allow it. Come to think of it, they'll probably 'patch' your EULA as well..

  7. Shadow Systems

    Sorry MS, but it won't work.

    The first time your application attempts to "phone home" (for ads or any other reason), my firewall will ask me if I wish it to communicate with the outside world.

    I'll check the little box "Never ask me this again", click the big red [NO] button, and as far as YOU'RE concerned, I'm not connected to the internet.

    So, please, tell me how you're supposed to deliver ads to anyone smart enough to run a firewall?

    What if they're connected via dial-up?

    Are you going to reimburse them for the time it takes to pull your ads down over their pay-by-the-minute connection?

    Or what if they really are NOT connected?

    What do you do then?

    Deny them the ability to run the software because YOU can't comprehend such a situation?

    Yeah, way to shoot yourselves in the foot again, guys.

  8. Trotsky

    Re: Sorry MS, but it won't work.

    "So, please, tell me how you're supposed to deliver ads to anyone smart enough to run a firewall?"

    Can't they just store the ads on the user's machine, and update them the next time the user logs on to the internet?

  9. Neil Barnes Silver badge

    Two words...

    Open Office.

  10. Andrew Baines Silver badge

    It's already in MS Money

    I paid (!) for MS Money to find it's full of ads. Every time I check share news, there's some annoying advert in the corner.

    Solution: An advert blocker. It blocks all the images in IE. Means I have to use FireFox (a good thing!), no more adverts.

  11. Andy Jones

    Improving products?

    "Microsoft is continually looking for ways to improve its products ... " said a spokeswoman.

    Well, how in Hades does changing the product to make it ad-intrusive actually improve the product? Apart from the privacy issues implementing advertisements in software is clearly not an improvement. Also, how exactly does adding intrusive ads bring more value to the product as the same person stated? So what if it means the price is dropped £40 if you are willing to put up with the advertisements! Even without the ads a price drop to a free product still does not bring value.

  12. Pascal Monett Silver badge

    Office Lite ? Heaven forbid !!

    Ballmer will never authorize that. If users found out that a Lite version is enough for 99% of their needs, MS would never sell another full version again.

  13. Chris Bradshaw

    One word


  14. Parax

    Preinstalled versions

    I was impressed (not greatly mind) to see works on a new computer recently (shame its not office!) however i suspect that all new computers now will have adverts all over thier pre installed versions....this is yet another bad move!

  15. John Bayly

    Who uses MS Works?

    Even if you have Office it tends be a bit tricky to open a Works file.

    FFS, you need to install "the Optional Works Converter" from the value pack. It's a standard MS thing, our products won't talk to each other.

    It's a bit like trying to send a PDF attachment from OE6 to Hotmail, it get's corrupted. Two MS products that can't communicate. Genius

    I've given up even trying to read the contents. If someone sends me a .wps document, it gets deleted, simple.

  16. Mark Allen

    Unfair to novices

    In my experience, MS Works is bundled in on those "bargain" cheap PCs. These are the underpowered machines bought by non-PC literate people.

    MS Works is purely used to stop the customer finding out about Open Office. Just like Outlook Express exists to stop them finding Thunderbird.

    It's bad enough that these people's first experience of computing is an underpowered machine struggling under the pile of bloatware installed without thought. They are already having problems with sending their Works documents to other people to read (I had one client who's IT Admins didn't even know how to add in the relevant compatibility extras to Office!!)

    And now ADVERTS? This is just evil. It's not as if there will be any savings or advantage for the customer. The ONLY person this will benefit is Microsoft. Surely they should be paying the customer to watch the ads?

    I agree with the above comments about a "cut down version of Office". If this existed, then everyone would be buying it. I find that most people are still fine with Office 2000, and regularly point clients to £30 copies on EBay. Though that trick is now being stopped with Micro$oft's change to the "docx" format....

  17. Steve Skipper

    Works must die

    What is the point of works, the file formats cannot even be opened by MS Office. So later on when you are rich enough to buy a copy of Office 2007 you will have do all your work again.

  18. davcefai


    Assuming that Staroffice = Openoffice I'd be interested in the author's reason for stating:

    "Certainly, StarOffice - once billed as an alternative to Office by Sun Microsystems for certain groups of users - has proved a let down both in terms of functionality and roadmap."

    Apart from the Database, which still needs a lot of work, the rest "just works" and works very well.

  19. andy gibson

    Challenge to Openoffice?

    "Works SE 9 could also pose a challenge to OpenOffice and StarOffice"

    Yeah, sure it could. If the full blown MS Office sees OO and SO a threat, Works has no chance.

    BTW Is the latest version of Works still saving it's files in that incompatable format with Office 2003?

  20. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward


    Of course everyone is slagging them off for giving away software with ad's

    Google (bessed be thy office) would never do such a thing....

    Still think it's carp though...

  21. Jude Bradley

    MS Works

    surely Microsoft works is an oxymoron?

  22. Chris


    Has anyone ever used this monstrosity anyway? I've been using computers since the 80's, and I have never even met anyone that I know used MS Works...

    Want a nice working alternative? Use an easy Linux distro like for instance PCLinuxOS and use That's probably more than you're ever likely to need. I have that combo running on my old Thinkpad T23 with 256 Mb ram and it works like a charm.

  23. Martin Dunn

    Where are Microsoft heading?

    I really can't see the logic in M$'s current strategy. I have nothing really against them (despite being a Linux user), but if you're going to offer 'software as a service' then I think occasional users would rather stump up a few pence for access to proper Office via the web than get something for free that is full of ads and generally incompatible with everything.

    Yes, OpenOffice will do most office tasks for most people, but the fact it's free means you won't see 100ft high posters for it in central london, like you do for Office 2007. Only the more technically minded tend to know of it's existence.

    As Vista doesn't seem to have captured people's imagination as well they might have hoped it does appear that Microsoft is clutching at straws. Come on guys - you're the biggest player out there, give us something truly innovative!

  24. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward


    I have yet to understand why MS don't offer ALL of their software free-of-charge for non-commercial home use - most people I know with Office at home are using knock-off torrented versions anyway, and those without Office already have Works as it came implanted on their PC by some OEM manufacturer...

    Surely giving stuff away free to home users would result either in an increase in business licensing, or at least make it very difficult for managers to propose an alternative, at least from a staff-usability point of view?

  25. Rob Beard

    Oh great

    Oh great an ad-ware riddled office suite which native file types aren't compatible with anything else?

    I think I'll stick to Open Office, at least there's more chance of being able to open what it saves.

    Rob (an ex-MS Works for DOS user)

  26. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    @One Word

    Definitely, you windows users are Microsoft's Bitches and MS slaps you around like little girls ... you know you will get this and moan, but not actually do anything about it.

    Its about time people took a little responsibilty for their computers, and stopped making excuses for not taking the time to learn to use another system be it mac or linux.

    I laugh at you from a very secure, free and ultimately more reliable OS yet i can open the files you send me.

  27. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    Two more words...

    Open Office.

  28. Dillon Pyron

    Re: Has anyone actually bought Works?

    I have a friend who almost did. I had a spare copy of Office 2K lying around, so I mailed it to her. I bought it OEM through one of those pricing engines. I think I paid $35 for it. Probably got ripped off. MInd you, this was before OO had really taken off.

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