Microsoft’s first ad-supported office suite is almost here; it just happens to not be Microsoft Office. The Redmond giant has opted to use a more expendable test subject for its foray into ad-supported software: the much overlooked Microsoft Works. The existence of the pilot program has been confirmed by Microsoft to Ars Technica and other news out — Ars Technica
So Microsoft plans on releasing software that retails for $39.95 for the low low price of free if you are willing to look at ads. I applaud Microsoft for venturing into Google’s playground of ad supported software but who actually uses Works any more? I haven’t seen it installed on a PC in years, and when I did see it I was uninstalling it for people! I think Microsoft needs to start out with some more serious software otherwise they are setting the whole program up for failure. Add on to the fact this program will only be available from OEMs like Dell, HP, Toshiba and it’s easy to see how this won’t work! You can get Works installed for free on most Dell PCs. So how do you get users to utilize ad supported software when it’s already available to them for free?
The Microsoft Expression development tools look great and I think a ‘lite’ version would be the perfect target for the ad supported software market! Once that is finished you would just need to make the software available to everyone and Microsoft would be making a great way to thousands of more developers attached to Microsoft products instead of Adobe’s!1f41