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Wednesday, October 13, 2010

Office 2010 Starter edition

The competition Microsoft has faced in the office suite software space increased substantially over the past few years; from the free desktop apps included in, to the online services such as Google Apps and Zoho. Alongside introducing a web-based version of Office in the near future Microsoft also looks to be taking a different approach with the release of Office 2010 next year.

Microsoft Office has always been a paid-for product, but 2010 looks like it may change that with a free-to-use version. Apparently Microsoft will give OEMs the option of installing a full version of Office 2010 with new PCs and laptops, but it will be limited in functionality and supported by advertising. Basically, instead of getting what we commonly get now, which is a full install of Office with a 60 day license, we will instead get a basic version of the Office 2010 apps you can use indefinitely, but have to endure advertising. If you want more than the basic functionality you will have to pay and upgrade. Quite fittingly Microsoft is calling this limited, ad-supported version Office Starter 2010.

Upgrades are also expected to be handled differently with retailers playing a big part in their distribution. Once launched we should expect to see Office 2010 upgrade cards available to buy. These are just plastic cards carrying a license code that once entered upgrade your Office copy to a new edition and the extra functionality that brings.

So with Office 2010 we can expect to see new machines shipped with a never expiring basic version, upgrades handled by license cards, and finally new Click-to-Run versions which allow you to purchase and buy different editions of the suite over the Internet. A new service supplemented by trial versions that run in a virtual machine on your desktop.

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