Home productivity package Microsoft Works could be the next to face the axe as rumours emerged that the software giant could well close the consumer oriented business suite as early as August 2009.
According to several sources close to the case, the software giant no longer considers Microsoft Works as a priority as better web-only alternative like Google Apps, Zoho and Thinkfree have emerged in the past few years.
An insider close to the process said that just like Wikipedia made Encarta obsolete, Google Apps et al have replicated the main features of Microsoft Works and made them free and available anywhere.
Furthermore, the growing popularity of open source alternatives like Open Office or IBM's Lotus Symphony have all but negated the price advantage that Microsoft Works had historically enjoyed.
Microsoft Works Suite have already been discontinued last year although system builders and OEMs have access to it. Ironically, a few rivals offer better file compatibility with the newest version of Microsoft Office compared to Microsoft Works.
Microsoft had announced a plan to release a free Works SE (Sponsored Edition) back in 2007 and was officially launched back in April 2008 in selected territories.
But the current economic condition means that the company appears to have chosen a more drastic way to cut costs and refocus resources elsewhere. And to make matters more complicated, Microsoft is also looking into a cheap online Office suite codenamed Albany.
The "Value Box" as Microsoft puts it, is likely to be a subscription based service that would have included Office Home and Student 2007, Office Live Workspaces, Windows Live Mail, Messenger and Photos client software and (the now defunct) Windows Live OneCare.
April Fool. We made that one up. But we can't guarantee that Microsoft is not considering axing Works suite altogether. The logic behind any prospective move makes sense although it is unlikely as it stands that Microsoft cans another emblematic consumer product.