Microsoft Office Goes Subscription


ScreenshotMicrosoft today announced the launch of Equipt, a new suite consisting of the Windows Live OneCare security service and Office Home and Student 2007. What’s different here is the pricing: $69.99 per year on an annual subscription basis, covering three computers. Equipt users get whatever upgrades ship to their products during the duration of the subscription – and no right to use the software at all if they stop paying. Circuit City will be the initial retailer, but deals are in the works with other stores and OEMs.

While the pricing seems to be a reaction to the pressure that Office has been getting from beneath, between online alternatives like Google Docs and Zoho and free software like, I don’t think that it’s low enough to be a game-changer. You can buy a full copy of Office Home and Student already for $110 (yes, there is some value to the additional pieces of the bundle, but those services aren’t the marquee attraction here); the gap between that and $70 is insignificant compared to the gap between either price and “free.” While Equipt may pick up some marginal business from multi-computer household who assume that Windows is everything, it won’t help with the continued nibbling away of the Office franchise by Google and company. Even web workers who require Office for high-end compatibility won’t find Equipt to be a bargain at that price.



the recent “information worker” pricing is certainly b2b. but i wonder how well piecemeal sharepoint + messaging + conferencing will go down with smaller businesses, which would rather have a “ready to use” simplified product. i would stick with integrated collaboration + messaging solutions which have been at it for years – for example

Marcin Grodzicki

I don’t know how much msft sells to which market but if they don’t start inventing new business models in the b2b market they are going to be in trouble there. This new model is just for pushing a bit more Office into b2c, which I doubt is very profitable anyway.

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