Microsoft has kicked up a notch the Office 2010 Stock Keeping Unit strategy by promising users a new edition of the next iteration of the Office System. Office 2010 Starter is the new edition added to the Office 2010 SKU line, and it will be offered completely free of charge to customers who will buy a new computer from OEMs starting with the first half of 2010, when the successor of Office 2007 is planned for general availability. According to Microsoft, Office 2010 Starter will only be made available preinstalled on new PCs, and will not be offered as a standalone product. In this regard, the Starter edition of Office 2010 is designed to replace Microsoft Works, which, as current owners of OEM machines know, came installed by default on their computers.
“As part of Office 2010 software that will be pre-loaded by the PC manufacturers on their PCs, we’re introducing Microsoft Office Starter 2010. Office Starter 2010 is a reduced-functionality, advertising-supported version of Office 2010, available exclusively on new PCs. Office Starter 2010 will provide new PC owners with immediate exposure to the Office 2010 experience on new PCs right out of the box,” revealed Takeshi Numoto, corporate vice president, Office.
The Starter label must be best known in association with Windows releases. Windows XP, Windows Vista and now Windows 7 all feature a Starter edition. And Office 2010 Starter, just as its Windows counterparts, will be stripped down of functionality; however, the major difference will be in terms of costs. Because it will be ad-supported, Office 2010 Starter will also be free. New PCs today feature Office 2007 pre-installed, but the copy offered is nothing more than the trial version, which expires eventually. Office 2010 will not expire, but it will serve end users advertising in exchange for letting them use a subset of the Word 2010 and Excel 2010 features.
“Office Starter 2010 will include Office Word Starter 2010 and Office Excel Starter 2010, with the basic functionality for creating, viewing and editing documents. Office Starter 2010 will replace Microsoft Works, offering a consistent Office user experience, such as the Ribbon, with a simple path to upgrade to a fully-featured version of Office 2010 directly from within the product,” Numoto added.