Microsoft Tests SaaS with Office Subscription

Microsoft (NSDQ:MSFT) on Wednesday unveiled Equipt, formerly named Albany,  a subscription-based service that bundles together Office applications, Windows Live OneCare security software, and Office Live Workspace, the Web-based extension of Office for sharing and storing documents. Subscription pricing for software has become commonplace in businesses but is a relatively new concept for consumers.

Equipt bundles a subscription version of Office Home and Student with Microsoft’s OneCare antivirus product for $69 a year–just $20 more than the suggested price of OneCare alone. The software bundle will be sold at nearly 700 Circuit City stores in USA.

The idea behind the subscription service is to convert more new PC buyers into Office buyers. It plays on the fact that although most people don’t buy Office at the same time as a computer, many do purchase a security software subscription.

Bryson Gordon, a group product manager for the Office group, said Equipt is aimed at people who wouldn’t ordinarily buy Office at the same time they purchase a new computer. Instead, they’d repurpose their old Office disks or pirate a friend’s copy. But those same folks are willing to spend extra on security software.

Gordon was adamant that Equipt’s purpose is to increase paying Office users. But consumers’ response to subscription pricing will also help the company figure out how to negotiate the industry’s shift from desktop-only programs to ones that are accessed via the Internet.

Source: AP

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