back to article Microsoft plays ads-funded Office 2010 Starter gambit

Microsoft plans a brand-new edition of its forthcoming Office 2010 in a push to loosen customers' vice-like grip on old versions of its productivity suite an upgrade. The company has announced Office 2010 Starter Edition, a functionally limited version of Office 2010. It will come pre-loaded on only new PCs and be will funded …

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  1. Chronos
    Happy

    Hmm...

    Click 'n' Run? Already been done for Linux.

    http://www.cnr.com/

    Remember, although Linspire is now owned by Xandros, these were the people MS sued over the name "Lindows." Perhaps revenge really is a dish best served cold.

  2. Ryan 7
    FAIL

    We already have medialess licence kits

    for Office 2007... but as they cost nearly as much as a 3-license retail copy that needs the existing preinstalled copy to be uninstalled before use, they have been an inconvenient waste of time.

    Pricing needs to be incentivisingly low for it to work...

  3. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    Berlin in November?

    Who moved TechEd to the winter?

    Give me Nice in July any day!

    (It's 10 years since I got to go to TechEd :-(

  4. Tom B
    Thumb Down

    Sorry, No Sale

    Having struggled with Office 2007's ribbon interface, I'll stick with Office 2003, thank you very much. As for putting Office 2010 starter edition on a new PC, it will be one of the first things I remove, along with the idiotic mini games, Norton/McAfee, and other bloatware that gets installed on a new machine. I would never use click-to-run, as I prefer to have a physical disk on the shelf to serve as a master backup. If a physical disk is not available, the purchase price better be heavily discounted. So, that's *another* couple of gigs I'll have to remove from the new hard drive.

    In the final analysis, the version of Office I have right now suits me fine. Besides, it's not that long ago I got rid of Office 97, and my wife is *still* using her copy. So don't rush me, ok? Ask me again around 2015.

  5. TallPaul
    Gates Horns

    Internet Explorer all over again

    Surely the big issue here is not whether or not users choose to upgrade to the paid for version than that it's making it less likely users will try other Office solutions like Open Office. I wonder what the EU will make of it ...

  6. Hate2Register

    funded by adverts...

    Since growth and profits are the raison d'etre for Microsoft, maybe they should make Windows 7 ad-supported, and what about Windows Mobile?

    One ad-supported program which I used until the ads, was AVG Free. Now I don't use it, because it has stopped focussing on stopping viruses, and concentrates on selling me stuff. A lot like Norton AV at the Millennium.

    Maybe Windows will go the same way, charging us to turn our computers on, making us pay rent for an app, generally being old-fashion capitalists at a time when everyone else is adding value.

  7. Anonymous Coward
    Linux

    You heard it here first...

    KOffice, www.koffice.org: lightweight, modular, coming along nicely.

    Free in all senses of the word.

    Nokia rate it.

    http://www.symbian-freak.com/news/009/09/koffice_based_office_viewer_for_nokia_n900.htm

  8. Doug Bostrom

    Ample customers

    Happily for MS shareholders, history has proven there is a permanent and generous supply of morons who will obediently watch ads in exchange for giving MS a permanent grip on whatever thoughts they may manage squeeze out via their keyboards.

  9. Mike Echo

    No media?

    So that means you don't get a copy of the media? What happens if your system goes tits up and necessitates a reinstall of the OS?

  10. Amish-Bill
    Black Helicopters

    Acclimation to the Blasted Ribbon?

    Maybe I'm a touch cynical and curmudgeonly on the topic, but I think this is an effort to get people more comfortable (aka force-feed the unwashed masses) with the new Ribbon Bar interface.

    Ok, ok... it will also allow them to ditch an old product and have a single codebase that covers from their bundle/nagware freebies to full price productivity offerings. Less overhead is just as good as more sales, right?

    Personally, I'm still looking for the "revert to Classic Menus" button so I can spend more time doing and less time wondering why they rearranged my furniture and changed the location of my doors & walls.

  11. Mike Row
    Thumb Up

    Yes! More money to me for removing the Pre-insalled Crap Fest and installing OOO.

    Users HATE Office 2007. Major struggle to get them to move on at work. Only way is to replace their machine and not install Office 2003.

    I get constaant "feedback" that they can't get their work done as fast as they used to becasue they can't find the functions they need and used to use all of the time in O2K3.

    Home users want ALL of the "Welcome" adware REMOVED completely.

    What a STUPID PAIN IN THE ASS! Pre-insatlling cripple ware and then advertising it with an XML file that has to be EDITED BY HAND to remove the ads and keep other required functionality.

    AND, after that pisses them off , paying the bill gets them REALLY interested in Open Office. Especially when you tell them they can install iot on ALL OF THEIR COMPUTERS.

  12. Anonymous Coward
    Linux

    Who cares?

    [me@my_box ~]$ vim

  13. Sarah Davis
    Stop

    One word

    OPEN OFFICE (ok, that's 2 words, but who cares it's free and negates the need for MS Oriffice)

    @Hate2Register - you can disable the add pane in AVG(free) by renaming avgresf.dll and avgfree_us.mht to .bak or deleting them completely :-)

  14. Big-nosed Pengie
    Headmaster

    Microsoft said...

    "Microsoft said Wednesday Exchange Server 2010"

    Interesting nomenclature. Can we expect to see Tuesday SQL Server 2010 and Thursday Microsoft Office 2010? I suppose it's an opening for Sunday Microsoft Bible. But what if you're a Mormon?

  15. Jeremy 2
    WTF?

    No install media?

    "The card, though, will replace the need for customers to physically go out and buy and install DVD media on their machine."

    Who in their right mind spends a three-figure sum on software that comes without install media.

    Choices for the average non-techy user should the whole thing go titsup would appear to be:

    (1) Use one of those god-awful system restore disks to reimage the drive to factory defaults just to reinstall the Office Starter Edition and reactivate it with the card (presumably that will be possible by phone as with product activation?). Of course you can kiss your other software and documents bye-bye because we all know that the vast majority of non-technical users keep their documents on C:.

    (2) Presumably some kind of internet-based recovery would be offered, which is lovely, assuming you've got an internet connection to hand which is fast enough to handle the download.

    (3) Buy another Office license. Profit!

    (4) Fall back on that old, reliable copy of Office XP that you've been using for a decade and which still Just Works.

    (5) TPB, obviously.

    Not a chance in hell I'd hand over so much money for software with no easy and guaranteed recourse should it need reinstalling at a later date.

    The way I see it, it's nothing more than a badly disguised first step towards a subscription model for consumer Office licensing... Presumably the license wouldn't be easily transferred to another machine either, come upgrade time, which is lovely for Microsoft. I wonder what the EU will make of it...

  16. Field Marshal Von Krakenfart
    Gates Horns

    The paperclip must die

    "Hi; it looks like you are trying to print a document, would you like to learn more about replacement printer cartridges?"

    I must say I find the ribbon interface horrendous, being nothing more than an old-style tool bar with VERY large icons, my son recently got a notebook (for college) that came with MicroShit's latest 60-day version of crippleware, he is now getting very comfortable with Open Office.

    The more MisroShit install of this crippleware, the more they prick around with the interface, their lack of desire to provide hard copies of their software (remember when a new PC came with install disks, instead of recovery disks) the easier it is to find alternatives.

    Sorry, reminded again, it's called "Click-to-Ruin technology", yeah

    "Thumbs down", "Stop"," WTF", and "Fail" icons as well

  17. Christopher Estep
    Go

    Hatred of Change

    What I'm seeing is Olde Fashioned FUD (Fear, Uncertainty and Doubt). Before you brand it as a bad idea, at least try it; you may well be pleasantly surprised! And to the OpenOffice.org folks, I have nothing against OO (in fact, on Linux I use OO); however, OO has no mail application (Outlook is the Office 2010 application I use the most, just as it has been in every version of Office since 2000), and until OO actually includes a decent mail application (Evolution comes to mind) it will be, at best, a secondary productivity suite for me personally. (Evolution comes the closest to Outlook functionwise, and I don't use Outlook as an Exchange client.)

  18. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    Hmm anyone say Keygen?

    Isn't this MS just giving away the cash cow that is Office, Windows Keygens get cracked all the time, usually before the product is released, why won't Office be different? Making the pricing right will be key.

    @Mike Row

    Users don't hate Office per se, Users hate change. If you have no experience of prior versions of Office the ribbon is fine, and potentially better as it's a little more organised. Most people know Office XP, and hence the feeling it's worse. But then again the keybaord shortcuts have stayed the same

    I hated 2007 when I started with it, now I find it easy to use, no it's not ideal when you need that obscure command you needed once a year, but it's not that hard to hit F1 and it has no flippin paperclip..

  19. Anonymous Coward
    Pirate

    Never mind the ribbon!

    There's another damned good reason for staying with 2k3.

    It's free as in: "beer that you grabbed from the fridge in the off-license and then ran like a sonofabitch".

    Aha me hearties, etc....

  20. The BigYin

    My grip is loosened already

    At home I use OpenOffice, it looks a bit 90s and has a few weird formatting quirks; but it does everything I want quickly and easily).

    At work I use MS Office and, now I think about it, I spend ages hunting about the ribbons (swearing) and generally wondering why it is so s-l-o-w.

    The only thing IMHO Office does better than OpenOffice is format handling. That's it. But that could just be me expecting OpenOffice to behave like Office and treating it work (it' not a big enough issue to overly bother me).

    And the great thing about OO? The price. Sweeeeeeeet. And the ability to easily save out to PDF is excellent. In fact...if there were just a few rough edges taken off OO, it would become an Office killer. Maybe when I get some spare time I can help that happen.

  21. Spunky McPunk
    Stop

    What is everyone's problem with the ribbon

    we're all fairly tech-savvy right? that's why we're readers of Reg yeah? the ribbon on office really isn't difficult to fathom. every time office is mentioned it's always "oh i can't get used to the ribbon" "it's not intuitive" "i prefer 2003" and a million variations thereof.

    i'm certainly not some kind of genius, but when the ribbon was introduced in 2007 i got used to it almost immediately. sure, every now and then it took me half a minute to find out where the occasional special function was such as finding document properties or recording a macro, but the fact that i no longer have to put up with toolbars taking up a load of the screen (once the ribbon is minimised) is a breath of fresh air.

    oh it also seems to run way faster on my XP laptop than office 2003 and certainly faster than the clunky free alternative that is OOo (although i still use OOo for creating pdf forms)

  22. Mark Aggleton
    Thumb Down

    @The BigYin

    And the 'Save As' 'PDF or XPS' is so dificult? Everyone else - get a life, interfaces change. Do you really want to go back to dosshell and Lotus 123 2.4 WYSIWYG attempts?

  23. Danny 14
    Stop

    wont change to OO

    The reason? Exchange. There isnt an alternative to an "exchange client" such as outlook. Our place runs on the shared calendars and tasks mated with emails. If it wasnt for that i'd be off to OO and zimbra (et al) like a bullet.

    That being said, im sticking with office 2003 as I dont have the time, budget or manpower for the 2007+ retraining for the god awful ribbon interface.

  24. The Fuzzy Wotnot
    Thumb Up

    You moan....

    ...well you know the answer, stop buying MS software and PC hardware and look at the alternatives!

    No not that Apple or Linux rubbish!!!

    Yep, Amiga, Atari ST ( DTP anyone?) or even the venerable Mini Office on the Amstrad CPC!

  25. ChrisInBelgium
    Coat

    No ribbon in my version

    oh wait, at work I'm still using Office '97. Perfectly fine piece of software and still does it's job like a well trained workhorse. I know it inside out and never have to look for a function as I know where everything is.

    Every time my PC gets changed I have a major battle on my hands to keep '97 on it, but in the end, a few threats to the IT dept usually work a charm.

    I have tried newer versions occasionaly, but to me it seems that they get worse with every iteration.

    At home, it's been OO for as long as I care to remember. Gets used very infrequently anyway. On my mac I had a 30-day tryout of Office for Mac and I used it exactly once, then deleted it.

    Mine's the one with the Office '97 cd in the pocket...

  26. Anonymous Coward
    Thumb Down

    Haaaa

    An add infested version of MS Orifice?

    Still that should compliment the virus infested versions of MS Orifice quite nicely!

    Never mind the idiot interface and never-ending upgrades which serve only to keep people spending on MS's repackaged cash cows.

    Cheap Software (office) comes with Cheap Software (the adds)?

    That is "Cheap" as in Crap:

    I am so grateful for Linux and Ubuntu and Open Office - anything to escape MS and their Naziware bullshit.

  27. Fred Flintstone Gold badge

    @ What is everyone's problem with the ribbon

    Good heavens, where do I begin. OK, in no particular order.

    - It is yet again a change. Been through that before from pre-2003, and the next time an MS rep tells me it'll save me time I will hang him by his tie for the exact duration he predicts it will save me every day - because it doesn't. In order to save that time I will have to spend months digging for every function, so it always amounts to a net loss, for absolutely no improvement whatsoever.

    - simplifying a UI is a job of leaving functions still reachable. Try and find/use doc variables, try and do ANYTHING beyond writing a doc and simple cut-n-paste and it is horrendous. Every single function that can make your life easier in large docs has been hidden somewhere, and sometimes those %&*ç extra menus are uncontrollably context sensitive so they vanish just when you need them.

    - it is thus not a case of "getting used to it" - important functionality has been put several layers further away, forcing you to either start thinking about hacking the UI setup or upgrading (it's not "down" IMHO) to 2003 and finally get some work done. It may be OK for "Hi mum, I'm fine" letters, but for more complex documents it's hopelessly screwed up.

    I'm all for innovation that actually improves usability, but there is no way I will have a disfunctional UI rammed down my throat because some sales rep needs a sales argument - 2007 was IMHO a perfect match for Vista. Came out at the same time, and both were totally cr*p.

    Personally I would not even recommend attempting to undo the cranial invasion of the developer rectal cavity of whoever dreamt this up, just see if he/she/it blends and get a fresh one. You can't possibly do any worse than 2007, so a trained monkey will do just fine. Or maybe that's just what provided the design input. Ah, an explanation at last..

    Cue good argument for OOo: the UI has remained the same, ditto for FF et al.. Anyone who suggests to follow the MS "lead" (cough) without a "revert to old layout" option deserves being locked into a room full of non.declawed cats on speed in a dog suit. With catnip in every orifice going.

    If it wasn't for Outlook being irrevocably linked in to everything like mobile phones I don't think I'd have a reason left not to use Linux or a Mac..

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