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Microsoft IT

The Microsoft Office Rental Program 432

LWATCDR writes "Yes, it looks like Microsoft is going to a rental program for Office. From the article, 'The software bundle, which also includes Microsoft's Live OneCare computer security software, will be sold at nearly 700 Circuit City stores for $70 per year.' Well I for one will be happy to stick with OpenOffice for now. From Microsoft's point of view it means a constant flow of money. For the customer it means you only have to pay a little each year instead of a lot every few years. I don't think this will save the average user any money and I wonder about problems with 'activation.' So will this fly, or will it give a big push to OpenOffice?
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The Microsoft Office Rental Program

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  • by Shados ( 741919 ) on Thursday July 03, 2008 @07:01AM (#24041535)

    The version of Office that is more than enough for most people (Excel/Word/Powerpoint and OneNote... is there an open source equivalent of OneNote that is roughly as good, btw?) is far from a "lot". Its 140-150$ for 3 licenses. (it does have limitations though, so often you'll want open office, but its still not "a lot").

    Keep in mind this subscription thing is also that: 70$/year for 3 licenses + support.

    • by aurispector ( 530273 ) on Thursday July 03, 2008 @07:11AM (#24041623)

      The support thing is key. Like it or not, MS is going to be in the support business big time and needs to find ways to profit from support that are simple, easy and cheap for the end user. Hell, 90% of the time all they need to do is put someone on the phone that understands how to use the software and that's all. Software can be free but on-demand support will always cost you.

    • by poetmatt ( 793785 ) on Thursday July 03, 2008 @07:36AM (#24041801) Journal

      Open Source Onenote?

      Yes, one you don't have to download, and one you do.

      On Linux: Basket Notepads
      On windows: Zoho Notebook (no software required for that one)

      • by Dolda2000 ( 759023 ) <{moc.0002adlod} {ta} {kirderf}> on Thursday July 03, 2008 @08:37AM (#24042701) Homepage

        Open Source Onenote?

        Yes, one you don't have to download, and one you do.

        On Linux: Basket Notepads

        I was thinking cat on Linux. You know, like:

        $ cat >>~/notes
        Contract number: 14732871-5

        ^D
        $

        Some may accuse me of being overly simplistic, but I'm not convinced that one would actually need much more than that to take notes. And, if one needs a more structure, it can be done with such mad features as a hierarchical filesystem. One even gets such features as full searchability (grep -ri ~/notes contract).

        • Re: (Score:3, Informative)

          by poetmatt ( 793785 )

          Well,

          it makes perfect sense for just text

          but OneNote allows clipboard copying and stuff like that. Just writing text we have notepad and equivalent in linux.

          Basket really does keep up with everything OneNote can do and zoho does too.

          Sometimes people need visual notes, etc etc. To me some of the features are just "unnecessary" as well.

          • by pwizard2 ( 920421 ) on Thursday July 03, 2008 @10:29AM (#24044845)
            The best notetaking software I've ever used is called Freemind [sourceforge.net]. It's a hierarchical mindmapping tool that provides good structuring and quick notetaking since everything is bound to a key without having to navigate menus (of course, you can do that too, if you want)

            I'll go so far as to say that Freemind should be standard issue for every student.
    • by gsasha ( 550394 ) on Thursday July 03, 2008 @07:39AM (#24041831) Homepage
      There is "Basket Note Pads", which is quite good IMHO. Works fine for me, and it's currently being ported to KDE4.
      Ah, you probably wanted something for Windows... tough luck. Or maybe there is something.
    • by wwphx ( 225607 )

      I've been using NeoOffice for about a year now since I went Mac for personal computing, and am, overall, quite content. Compatibility with Office documents created on my PC is quite good and I don't see me buying another copy of Office ever. Or renting it, for that matter.

      My only problem is finding a database that does what I want it to do. Creating the structures in MySQL or anything else isn't a problem, I can't find something that will give me card layout power like I had in Access. You see, I design

    • by Anonymous Coward on Thursday July 03, 2008 @08:08AM (#24042163)

      I know that for some people 150 dollars isn't a lot. Certainly not the 70 dollar rental scheme.

      I happen to live in Arkansas, an "economically depressed" area. Wages aren't even a fraction of what you see in New York, Chicago, or Los Angeles.

      People raising families think that 150 bucks IS a lot of money.

      If that doesn't convince you, consider all the people outside the United States. There are people in this world who don't see 150 dollars in hard cold cash in a MONTH.

      That is one of the driving forces behind open source (and piracy too,for that matter), after all. A hundred dollars IS a lot of money to a large majority of the people on this earth.

      If I had 150 dollars or more to spend on an OS even before I could consider spending another 150 bucks on an office suite, I would send that money to an open source developer rather than a greedy corporation like Microsoft.

      • Re: (Score:3, Interesting)

        by aztracker1 ( 702135 )
        You know, I only take exception to the "greedy corporation"... I'm kind of tired of hearing all this anti-corporate tone everyone has. I honestly can't stand MS's politics on a lot of issues. I don't like some of the decisions they've made up to this point... a lot of the anti-competitive behavior in particular. That said, there is absolutely nothing wrong with someone, or a company wanting to make money, or not wanting people to pirate their work.

        I know I may well get modded down for this, I just wan
    • Re: (Score:2, Funny)

      by enemorales ( 1172133 )

      "You got some nice documents there. It would be a shame if you cannot access them anymore."

      I think this will be good for OpenOffice.org!

  • by Alarindris ( 1253418 ) on Thursday July 03, 2008 @07:02AM (#24041541)
    before people realize that OpenOffice works just as well AND is free.

    Of course so does a pirated copy of MS Office.
    • by fictionpuss ( 1136565 ) on Thursday July 03, 2008 @07:08AM (#24041589)
      Well now it'll be every year that people consider whether to 'invest' in Microsoft Office, rather than every few years and generally with a new computer purchase.

      Essentially then, the decision making surface area is increased, giving more chance for OpenOffice to gain traction, and more incentive for potential licensee's to pursue other options.

      I think they shot themselves in the foot with this one, but then I'm not the marketing genius that came up with it.

      • 3 years subscribing: $210.00

        Any questions?

      • Re: (Score:3, Insightful)

        Well now it'll be every year that people consider whether to 'invest' in Microsoft Office, rather than every few years and generally with a new computer purchase.

        Essentially then, the decision making surface area is increased, giving more chance for OpenOffice to gain traction, and more incentive for potential licensee's to pursue other options.

        I think they shot themselves in the foot with this one, but then I'm not the marketing genius that came up with it.

        The problem is retail distribution - CC et. al. get paid to push MS; and getting nothing for OO or NeoOffice. Guess what they will do?

        While we here are familiar with OSS alternatives (and I use NeoOffice as well as GIMP); most people have no idea what OSS is, let alone how to get it and set it up.

        Take NeoOffice on the Mac - when I set it up it defaulted to saving file sin its format; which Office couldn't open. I *knew* what the problem was and fixed it; but the average user will only see that Aunt Sally

    • For home use the smaller 'lighter' alternatives are imho to be preferred over $anyOffice. As long as they do the job, and can default 'save' in a compatible fileformat, there is not really a reason to use BIG applications. Of course YMMV.
      • by jeiler ( 1106393 )

        I would assume that "home use" is a fraction of the business market--I don't have hard figures, but I'd be surprised if home installs of MS Office equals 10% of the market.

        Sorry, I should have specified--legitimate home installs, not counting pirated copies. But of course, no one here knows about pirated software. :D

    • by michaelwigle ( 822387 ) <michaelwigle@hotmail.com> on Thursday July 03, 2008 @07:13AM (#24041639) Homepage
      I would be worried that OO.o might get overlooked for pirated copies of MS Office. Thankfully, Microsoft has finally stopped using their own pirated software as an advertising expense. The harder they make it to pirate, the more folks will move to OO.o. After all, if all those people who were pirating it in the first place can't pirate (and still don't want to pay), what are they going to use?
      • Re: (Score:2, Insightful)

        by lilomar ( 1072448 )

        It's still not hard to pirate MSO.
        Geek - Pirate Bay > Search:"MS Office Cracked" > Download > Install
        Non-Geek - Find Geek > Have Him/Her install it

    • Re: (Score:3, Interesting)

      OpenOffice works, yes, but if you need to create MSOffice documents would you trust OO? I've tried saving my resume in MSWord 97 format but when I bring it up in the real MSWord it doesn't look as it did in OO. If I didn't have a copy of Word as well I wouldn't have known the difference and would have been sending out crappy looking resumes. For me, this is where the rubber meets the road; until OO's compatibility (of Word's main features) is perfect, or many more people start accepting OO documents, OO

      • by sjames ( 1099 )

        Export as PDF. View in Adobe to verify correctness.

        Surely employers don't need the ability to edit your resume?!?

  • by ClaraBow ( 212734 ) on Thursday July 03, 2008 @07:03AM (#24041555)
    The problem with this model is that not everyone needs constant upgrades. At our office, we still you Office '97 because it does everything we need. If we are forced to pay every year for unnecessary upgrades, I believe that Open Office will be in our future.
    • Either that or Office '97/2K. I'm really not sure why most individuals upgrade from Office 2K, anyway.

    • by somersault ( 912633 ) on Thursday July 03, 2008 @07:18AM (#24041665) Homepage Journal

      Yep, Office 97 is adequate IMO, but when you buy in new machines they often come with newer versions of office, so those with 97 start whining because their interface isn't as shiny, or features like shared email folders are harder to access. Or, worse, they actually need a newer version to cope with the files that those with newer versions are churning out. Yes you can save to older formats, but most people will just regard that as a PITA, especially when it comes to things like PST files..

      If someone came up with a good free shared email/calendar alternative to Outlook then that would be awesome. I meant to try out the latest version of thunderbird, still haven't got around to it.. basically Exchange and Outlook are quite a good solution. I definitely don't want to get rid of Exchange right now as it means road warriors can easily access their email through their phones without having to deal with Crapberry network issues all the time etc, but if Outlook was dethroned then OpenOffice would be a very viable solution for a lot of our desktops. And that also means that Linux would be quite viable in some cases too :) I can dream at least..

      Thankfully only 2 of our machines have been ordered with Vista so far - one by our MD, and one by an insubordinate IT assistant who needed a multimedia spec machine for presentations, and it doesn't even work for it - why do Dell laptops always seem to have strange problems with projectors??. If MS keep forcing Vista on businesses then I'd make a concerted effort to replace as many of our machines as possible with FOSS alternatives though, rather than having to get Volume licensing stuff for all new machines just so that we can downgrade. And that's only if drivers are even available for the newer stuff - for some new Dells like the one I mentioned, you can't! Perhaps there are some hacked drivers out there that will allow me to 'downgrade' it though..

      • Re: (Score:3, Interesting)

        by meringuoid ( 568297 )
        Or, worse, they actually need a newer version to cope with the files that those with newer versions are churning out. Yes you can save to older formats, but most people will just regard that as a PITA

        Actually, with the new Office apps it's not. We're almost entirely WinXP but a few Vista machines have crept in lately - mine is one of them. By default of course Office saves to the new format - but I've only had to tell Excel once, and now every new workbook is created in 'Compatibility Mode', and saved as

    • by Kjella ( 173770 ) on Thursday July 03, 2008 @07:28AM (#24041749) Homepage

      The problem with this model is that not everyone needs constant upgrades. At our office, we still you Office '97 because it does everything we need. If we are forced to pay every year for unnecessary upgrades, I believe that Open Office will be in our future.

      The question is whether you're paying rent or for upgrades. I know most companies lease assets, rent services and so on instead of buying. Even things that they need all the time, because they got a professional supplier that is good at what they do and charge a reasonable price, it's got nothing to do with upgrades as such. It's the difference between say a company with a leasing agreement for company cars, and you buying a car and saying "Well we still use our '97 model car because it does everything we need." The model has already been used to deliver software as a service and works in some areas.

      The reason I think this is a rotten idea is that Microsoft is very dominant in office software. Rental agreements are a very simple way of making sure you get money each and every year as long as people use it, even if there's little to no innovation. The whole advantage to the consumer, and the reason there's usually some premium, is that you're not that committed. End the rental agreement, sign on someone else. In a market completely dominated by Microsoft, where's the advantage?

      • The reason I think this is a rotten idea is that Microsoft is very dominant in office software. Rental agreements are a very simple way of making sure you get money each and every year as long as people use it, even if there's little to no innovation. The whole advantage to the consumer, and the reason there's usually some premium, is that you're not that committed. End the rental agreement, sign on someone else. In a market completely dominated by Microsoft, where's the advantage?

        I think you answered your

    • by jez9999 ( 618189 ) on Thursday July 03, 2008 @07:31AM (#24041767) Homepage Journal

      At our office, we still you Office '97 because it does everything we need.

      Did you use Word 97's grammar check whilst writing this post? :-)

      • Did you use Word 97's grammar check whilst writing this post? :-)

        LOL, very clever! If I could, I'd mod you up! I tend to type too fast and sometimes my mind and fingers aren't in synch...

  • Bad description... (Score:5, Insightful)

    by mark72005 ( 1233572 ) on Thursday July 03, 2008 @07:03AM (#24041559)
    "For the customer it means you only have to pay a little each year instead of a lot every few years."

    The problem is more along the lines of, "this means MSFT can tax the consumer every year instead of the consumer using the same copy of Office they've been using since 97 or 2000 which still works just fine."
    • by querist ( 97166 ) on Thursday July 03, 2008 @07:37AM (#24041813) Homepage

      I think you're absolutely correct.

      This move, IMHO, has at least three major drivers:

      1. Continuous revenue stream (as noted before). They know that a certain percentage will stay with them no matter what, especially businesses. They'll most likely offer reduced-per-copy licenses for corporations to keep Office as the standard.

      2. "Forced" upgrades. Remember, every person who is using an older version of Office is keeping an older file format alive. That older file format being out there gives Open Source applications more time to be compatible, thus deluting MS's hold on the "Office" market.

      3. "Bragging rights" What? Yes. Just like Vista's supposed sales popularity (because MS forced OEMs to install only Vista after a certain date) has been used to tout Vista as being wildly successful (even though every person I know who has ever used Vista _hates_ it), I strongly suspect that this will also be used to brag about how the new version of "Office" is so "popular" and so much "better", in an attempt to FUD about Open Office and other free applications that can do the essentials.

      Because so many companies are convinced that "Office" is the only way to go, I am afraid that this will work.

      As a university professor, I've already started insisting that students not use Office 2007's docx format. It's easy enough for me, because I tell them if I can't read it, I can't grade it. Once newer versions of office can't produce backward-compatible formats, I'll insist on PDFs or other open formats. I'm only one professor, but I suspect that I will not be alone in this. Beside, our university actively encourages the use of Open Office. Once I find a version that actually works on OS X (instead of crashes all of the time) I'll encourage the use of Open Office with my students, too.

  • This will make Office more affordable for the average person, even if it is more expensive in the long term. Not so hard to plonk down $70 for a 3-computer license the first year. Cheaper than a mobile phone contract as well.

    Shame that OneCare is supposed to be rather awful.

    • Only in that way people have that gets them in to huge debt where they think "I can't afford $Y now, so instead I'll pay three, four, five or more times $Y over a period of time, making it far more in reality but less in my mind because each individual number is smaller".

      I'm just glad I'm on OpenOffice already, even at work. Not that MS Office tends to be part of a Linux install anyway!

    • Re: (Score:3, Informative)

      by clodney ( 778910 )

      One thing that I think is overlooked is that this is not Office at $70/year, it is Office + AV for $70/year.

      Last I looked (which admittedly was 3 or 4 years ago), Norton wanted annual renewals of $40 for their AV suite, and Windows users have it hammered into them that they MUST keep their AV software up to date.

      Looked at that way, the incremental cost of having Office is $30/year on top of what they would spend on Anti-virus.

      Why its just pennies a day...

    • Not just affordable - renting means you can account the cost differently, removing it from your capital expenditure budget and moving it onto other budgets, as well as not listing it as either a debt or an asset. This is why a lot of large companies lease things such as fleet cars, or buildings (even if they create a subsidiary and lease it back to the parent).
  • Why (Score:3, Funny)

    by oodaloop ( 1229816 ) on Thursday July 03, 2008 @07:05AM (#24041573)
    would I want to rent an office in Redmond? I live in Virginia, you insensitive clods!
  • by ciaohound ( 118419 ) on Thursday July 03, 2008 @07:09AM (#24041605)

    in a bid to reach thrifty PC buyers who would otherwise pass on productivity software.

    I'm pretty sure that's me, and I use Google docs. It's a natural since I have never bought my own printer in twenty years. When I need to print something, I do it at work, or the public library or Kinko's. So tell me why I'd pay $70 per year for Word?

    • by hey! ( 33014 )

      Well, I used to run into huge arguments with my old boss over this kind of reasoning. When you are doing product positioning, you can't use your own experience and preference as a guide, unless you plan to sell to exclusively to people who have exactly your own background and personality.

      You don't print very much -- nor do I. But if you were a sales guy, you'd be doing lots of quotes; granted many come by email but you often need it "in writing". If you were a lawyer, you'd need to print contracts. Wh

  • by apathy maybe ( 922212 ) on Thursday July 03, 2008 @07:10AM (#24041615) Homepage Journal

    http://openoffice.org/ [openoffice.org] has already been mentioned heaps of times. I won't bother saying anything more about it.

    This is old news, Microsoft has been wanting to rent software for ages.

    Two types of customer. The home user is used to renting software such as Virus Checkers and the like. Yes, it isn't really renting as such, but whatever. Microsoft really just needs to convince them that it's a good deal, and they are done. However, considering that many people don't have access to broadband (yes, not everyone lives in a city, and some people are still too poor to pay even if they can access it), I wonder how they will distribute the updates. Actually, do you get to keep the software when you stop paying? Previously it stopped working (you could only view the documents). Is that such a great thing for home customers?

    Business customers would probably love this though. At least some of them. Pay less, always get the latest version. Except they got screwed over with something like this before already, they didn't actually get a new version for ages (I can't remember the details).

    Oh yeah, one final thought, what about setting up your own server to pretend to be the MS server and say, "yes, you're a legit copy" to any software that queries it? And/or introduce a crack into the system so that it doesn't shut down?

  • by thermian ( 1267986 ) on Thursday July 03, 2008 @07:10AM (#24041619)

    I see absolutely no reason to update from office 2003.
    If Microsoft start down the 'future versions won't open your files' crap then I'll jump ship to OpenOffice. For now though I see no compelling reason to switch. I would imagine this is aimed firmly at corporate customers.

    Yeah, I know, its not fashionable to actually like office 2003, but its a good product, I've always liked it. Besides, ever tried writing a doctoral thesis in OpenOffice? I have, it's not easy.

    • thermian wrote:

      I see absolutely no reason to update from office 2003. If Microsoft start down the 'future versions won't open your files' crap then I'll jump ship to OpenOffice. For now though I see no compelling reason to switch. I would imagine this is aimed firmly at corporate customers.

      Yeah, I know, its not fashionable to actually like office 2003, but its a good product, I've always liked it. Besides, ever tried writing a doctoral thesis in OpenOffice? I have, it's not easy.

      I agree with the above tha

  • ...and for business there is lot of enterprise licenses from Microsoft. Would work if they would start to offer it as part of their OEM programms.

  • If OpenOffice is so good, why do it's advocates always have to say "oh it's just as good" etc? Yet they continue to either ignore or deride the frequent comments made here that it is slow and missing a great deal of the power functionality that a lot of users need. I myself have tried it several times over the years, and compared to my old copy of Office XP and later Office 2003, it just wasn't as functional for my usage.

    • While I find that hard to believe, it could be possible.

      The real question was it missing functionality or was the functions in a different spot than your used to. I find Open office to have every feature i need and a ton of stuff that just isn't useful to me.

      I tried to get an Office 97 user to use Open Office. they couldn't be bothered to learn were things had moved to. Like wise office 2003 or 2007 will also piss them off as things move around in Office pretty good.

    • Re: (Score:3, Insightful)

      by Shotgun ( 30919 )

      If OpenOffice is so good, why do it's advocates always have to say "oh it's just as good" etc?

      If you came to my house trying to sell me an expensive lawn mower, I would send you away with the response that my cheap mower was "just as good". What do I mean by that? I mean that my mower spins a blade that cuts my grass to a certain height. That is all I need a mower to do. No amount of money above what I spent for my cheap mower would improve upon "blades of grass cut to X height". I'm not saying my mowe

  • It works out to less than $7 per month--less than what most people are paying to "rent" Netflix or "rent" cable TV. You can find free "open source" equivalents of both Netflix (most public libraries have a selection of videos) and cable TV (over the air). Somehow /.'ers are appalled at paying for software, but think nothing of buying electronics or other toys.

    The cost of office for a home user is relatively cheap (about $120 to buy) or $7/month to rent, and the best that can be said for OO is that it's "
    • by jez9999 ( 618189 ) on Thursday July 03, 2008 @07:37AM (#24041811) Homepage Journal

      Your 'Netflix' or whatever is one regular payment for one service. You may have 20 or 30 significant pieces of software installed on your PC. Maybe if this kind of payment covered all that software, people would find it more reasonable. They're talking about this JUST for MS Office. What if you had to pay $5 for each piece of software on your machine, per month? Starts to seem a little ridiculous now, doesn't it?

    • by Mr_eX9 ( 800448 )

      That's because Netflix and cable TV are services. MS is trying to tell us that they want to turn MS Office into a service akin to a virus scan subscription...an idea which many people are going to disagree with.

      I for one don't care about getting updates for MS Office...the copy I got in 2002 still works just fine today. If I had been paying a subscription on it I'd be out $70x6=$420 as opposed to $120-150 to just buy the thing.

      This is a blatant money-grab on MS' part and I hope the world (or at least the IT

  • If, and only if, Microsoft offers the software both for rent and for purchase. The article didn't say that they were going to a strictly rental model for Office, and I assume they are not ... but, assuming anything with Microsoft is a bad idea. Anyway, yes, I think that rental for home users can work, but cannot be the only way to get the software. Otherwise, it will work, a little, for a year, after which time people will forget to re-subscribe, Office will stop working, and they'll freak out.
  • That is you could rend some of the evergrowing number of empty offices in Redmond to host you own business ad a nice address.
    What a pity!
  • by Anonymous Coward on Thursday July 03, 2008 @07:22AM (#24041707)

    I've had it with your closed, proprietary OS and file formats!

    I'm getting an iMac with iWork.

  • by Anonymous Coward on Thursday July 03, 2008 @07:22AM (#24041709)

    I personally try to avoid using Windows, Office, et al, as often as possible, but I recognize that this is a good business plan.

    Microsoft Office still has the (somewhat justifiable) reputation of being the best office productivity suite available, and lowering the barrier to entry (even if the consumer pays more in the long-term) will make it easier for consumers to justify purchasing the software.

    OpenOffice has no monetary barrier, but it does have three other barriers that for most people make it worse of an offer than MS Office:

    1) Brand Recognition - Sun Microsystems has always focused on the enterprise, not consumers, and so few would even know they are a large multinational corp. and then those few (the geeks) would be split on whether they like or dislike them.

    2) Initial Experience - The earlier releases of OpenOffice were painfully slow and did a poor job with MS Office files' formatting. Both of these are improving, but many may have already written the suite off. The formatting issue is even worse than the speed, as many people have to collaborate on documents with others who use MS Office, leading to the third barrier...

    3) The Lemming Effect - Some people just want to use whatever is popular, even if they don't really know why they would want to. This psychological barrier is probably the most difficult to remedy, with disillusionment in the big player being the quickest course of action. Office 2007 has disillusioned some of its users -- unfortunately that disillusionment is based on an unwillingness to change.

    Office 2007's interface is a creative new way to work on documents, (whether you think its better or worse than before) and trying to attract those who don't want change will only stagnate the OpenOffice suite into an Office 2003 clone with new ideas from other office suites (Office 2007 and KOffice, for instance) either being ignored or shoehorned in poorly when the file format has changed to reflect these new features.

    So, by making it easier for end-users to use arguably the one really good piece of software they develop, which only runs on their crappy (to develop on and to use) operating system, they have at least slowed the tide in the transition of the operating system to a commodity product.

    (Disclaimer: I don't really like using either Office suite whenever I can get away with it, and prefer to do everything in PDFLaTeX. I mostly just use OpenOffice Impress, which hasn't had much difficulty in reading PowerPoint files correctly.)

  • by Bender0x7D1 ( 536254 ) on Thursday July 03, 2008 @07:22AM (#24041713)

    I think the rental program will be a big hit with groups that need to open an office and operate for a relatively short period of time. Perfect example: Campaign Offices. The offices are only needed until November, then they will shut down for 3 years and kick it back up in 2012. They can save 50-60% by renting office for one year instead of purchasing it.

  • Nice Try! (Score:5, Insightful)

    by rspress ( 623984 ) on Thursday July 03, 2008 @07:23AM (#24041725) Homepage
    Microsoft is doing something smart. The one program most often sold with a new PC is security software. Bundling their own security software and a copy of office makes sense to get users hooked early on. However why would you buy security software from someone who makes such a security hole ridden OS in the first place. While I don't keep a copy of office on my PC, I do use one on my Mac. Still, I fire up open office more than I do any Microsoft program.
    • However why would you buy security software from someone who makes such a security hole ridden OS in the first place.

      It's the perfect scam [wikipedia.org], mafia style. First, you send some thugs around to smash up a business storefront. Then, you send a guy by to collect some money for "protection" from said thugs. The poor business owner either pays up, or he gets his store smashed up again. Often, the cops are receiving a cut and look the other way, or don't respond if the business owner decides to call law enforcem

  • ...being: home users primarily. It's kinda true that most modern MS Office functionality is aimed at business users (MOSS/Exchange integration), so it's fair to say most home users at least could do just fine with OpenOffice, and thus, seeing as there's only one price-tag, they are getting the lesser value.

    Even with that in mind, $70 for a complete office + AV protection system, with support, isn't bad.

  • by ukyoCE ( 106879 ) on Thursday July 03, 2008 @07:34AM (#24041787) Journal

    IANAL but isn't bundling their anti-virus with Office a pretty blatant use of their monopoly to take over other markets?

    Or has the government not officially ruled/admitted MS has an Office monopoly, only an OS monopoly?

  • Slightly OT (Score:5, Funny)

    by jazman ( 9111 ) on Thursday July 03, 2008 @07:37AM (#24041809)

    Shouldn't the Billborg icon be replaced now? Say with a Ballmerborg, or maybe a Ballmerchair. Or even a chairborg.

  • I think open office will take off like crazy regardless, but this might give it a bit of a push. I switched 100% to Open Office in February, and I haven't missed MS office even once.

    /I do still miss Visio, but I am coming to terms with Dia. It is not as good as Visio, but I am getting by with it.
  • by chaodyn ( 1313729 ) on Thursday July 03, 2008 @07:46AM (#24041895)
    Now they can prove that the end-user doesn't "own" their software but are licensed, getting around first-sale doctrine and all the rights contained therein. Their lawyers must love it.
  • by Froggie ( 1154 ) on Thursday July 03, 2008 @07:50AM (#24041949)

    OK, run that last line by me one more time...

    MS introduce an alternative licensing model for their customers. Presently, customers choose to buy MS Office even at its current cost. Wise customers in certain circumstances may choose to rent it instead, saving themselves money.

    Thus, Office, on the whole, is cheaper than it was. And in specific cases is no more expensive.

    These people have chosen MSOffice over OpenOffice, and now it costs them less. And you're suggesting that because MSOffice is cheaper, they'll stop using it?

  • I think it's a pretty sweet idea. Especially if they do reduced rates for students. I won't *want* MS office at home when I finish my course... so why buy the suite for hundreds when I could pay £15 for 3 years...
  • Old Dog, Old Tricks (Score:5, Interesting)

    by UnknowingFool ( 672806 ) on Thursday July 03, 2008 @08:01AM (#24042077)
    While most people here are commenting about whether renting is better than buying Office or using OpenOffice, strategically, this has the effect of getting OneCare onto more machines. I'm not commenting whether McAfee or Symantec is better, but isn't MS up to their old tricks by leveraging Office to get more OneCare sales? Unlike Netscape and Internet Explorer, you can't load two security packages onto the same machine without seriously affecting performance. I expect both companies to start complaining about antitrust implications.
  • by Admodieus ( 918728 ) <john.misczak@net> on Thursday July 03, 2008 @08:08AM (#24042171)
    Included in this package is not only Microsoft Office, but also Windows Live OneCare among other services. Let's see how the math breaks down over the next few years:
    Traditional Purchase Model
    -Microsoft Office 2007 Home and Student - $150
    -Windows Live OneCare (with one year subscription) - $50
    -Next year's OneCare subscription - $50
    -Following year's OneCare subscription - $50
    -Microsoft Office 2009 Home and Student - $150
    Total for three years: $450

    Under the new Equipt Model
    -Microsoft Equipt (first year) - $70
    -Microsoft Equipt (second year) - $70
    -Microsoft Equipt (third year, includes upgrade to Office 2009) - $70
    Total for three years: $210

    Now, this is assuming that the user continues to subscribe to OneCare and eventually would upgrade to Office 2009 - however, assuming they do, the savings are pretty clear. Since this is being offered side-by-side with the traditional purchase model, I think this is a good move by Microsoft. Also, there is no alternative anywhere in the software universe that comes close to OneNote.
    • by guruevi ( 827432 ) <evi@@@evcircuits...com> on Thursday July 03, 2008 @10:07AM (#24044401) Homepage

      You can also see it the following way: Look at the period before 2007:

      -Microsoft Office 2003 Home and Student - $150

      -Microsoft subscription model (which would just have been Office 2003) - 4 x 70 = $280

      OneCare shouldn't even be bundled. First, there are other solutions (especially for home, there are a few free solutions). Second, they should make their OS more secure so that you wouldn't even need OneCare. I don't see no SimpleCare bundled with any Mac or Linux package nor is there a demand in those markets, not because they're a smaller market so people don't write virusses for it but because the freaking os doesn't do anything behind the scenes without the user knowing about it.

  • There are loads of SaaS offerings that we gladly pay for regularly. I use goosync, Basecamp, and I am currently researching an online invoicing system for my consulting business. What makes this any different?

    Saying that Microsoft is doing it, and they are teh Ev1l!!! isn't a good enough reason to be up in arms.

    This is a smart move to entice the SMB market, which doesn't always have the free capital to spend on this kind of software up front. If it doesn't work well, or seems too expensive for the marketpla

  • by swb ( 14022 ) on Thursday July 03, 2008 @08:13AM (#24042251)

    ...as long as they figure out reasonable, flexible and innovative rental terms that don't end up being way more than buying outright.

    I'd love to be able to install $Expensive_Application and then buy blocks of hours that I could use the program. There's no way I can ever pay off the cost of, say, Adobe Design Suite CS3 bought outright, but if $100 would buy me 10 hours of use of the most current version, it'd totally be worth it versus spending $89 on some crippled version or a knockoff that bombs out or doesn't work right.

    • Re: (Score:3, Insightful)

      by Seraphim_72 ( 622457 )
      Maybe if you were an expert. 10 hours in CS3 would barely let me know where all the buttons are - and I would be $89 poorer for the effort.
  • I could imagine Microsoft, or any company for that matter, charging more for the privilege to rent software in what may seem, to the renter, like an arbitrary fashion. They could terminate your contract if you let your brother remote in to use Word or if you let your wife/husband/partner/children/stepchildren/etc. use Excel. Why should I, a single guy, pay the same for a license to use software I occasionally use as a family of holy-rolling breeders pays for software used by their biblically-named childre

  • by syousef ( 465911 ) on Thursday July 03, 2008 @08:18AM (#24042305) Journal

    Subscription services don't tend to get cheaper over time. In fact if lots of people take this up, demand increases and within a handful of years people will be paying the same amount to rent office for a year that they pay now to buy a non-terminating license.

    I hate anything as a service. Another regular bill, and another dependency on another company I probably don't like, because my alternative is to go without. Fuck that for a bag of chips.

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