You know times are changing

When Microsoft is set to release a version of Office that is free to consumers and supported by advertising. It is called Microsoft Office Starter 2010. Here’s the details from the Microsoft Office 2010 Engineering blog:

As part of Office 2010 software that will be pre-loaded by the PC manufacturers on their PCs, we’re introducing Microsoft Office Starter 2010. Office Starter 2010 is a reduced-functionality, advertising-supported version of Office 2010, available exclusively on new PCs. Office Starter 2010 will provide new PC owners with immediate exposure to the Office 2010 experience on new PCs right out of the box.

Office Starter 2010 will include Office Word Starter 2010 and Office Excel Starter 2010, with the basic functionality for creating, viewing and editing documents. Office Starter 2010 will replace Microsoft Works, offering a consistent Office user experience, such as the Ribbon, with a simple path to upgrade to a fully-featured version of Office 2010 directly from within the product.

Microsoft will soon be offering the product in beta and is asking people interested in the product to complete a quick survey as a way to nominate for the program. If you are interested then you’ll find the nomination process at:

This is further evidence of how much Office 2010 will be a game changer not only for Microsoft but for all those people that make living selling Microsoft Office. With the product available free on the web as well as free for download, how many existing are likely to upgrade to these products? Most, I reckon. Alternatively, how many people are going to upgrade to a paid edition? Not many, at least initially I believe. As I have said before, not only is the technology changing but also the economics. People who made their living from selling Microsoft Office are going to have to re-think their strategy as free versions of Office cannibalize existing sales. If they were smart they’d realize that there is going to be a huge potential market implementing and training customers on all versions of Office 2010 but luckily most won’t see this and will unsuccessfully continue to try and sell Office.

Why do I say luckily? Because it means more business for me as they focus on the wrong area. Sorry, as Donald Trump says – ‘It’s not personal, it’s business’.

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