In a move aimed at exploring an advertisement based revenue model, Microsoft has decided to discontinue its MS Works application suite and replace it with a free Office Starter 2010 edition which will be supported by ads.
The Office Starter 2010 is expected to come preinstalled on many new Windows based systems and its users will have an option to upgrade to a full paid version of MS Office by using activation cards which are likely to be available at major electronic stores.
As expected since early this year, the new Office Starter 2010 is essentially a stripped down version of MS Office suite and it will not include standard business oriented applications like Outlook or PowerPoint.
Though not much is known about the kind of ads Microsoft is planning to push through the application, most analysts believe that it will avoid using flashing text, pop ups and other annoying stuff which can put off home users.
As opposed to trial versions of MS Office that used to come with preinstalled Windows systems, the Office Starter 2010 will not have an expiry date.
It also comes with a “Click to Run” feature which allows users to test out the functionality of the software while the software gets downloaded in the background.
It will be interesting how this Office 2010 starter edition will fare against the cut down version of Office which will be available online and compete against Google online Apps. Microsoft must make sure that this doesn't impact on its Office applications business. Ballmer et Al can't take any risk here.