Home > Microsoft > Microsoft Eyes Making Desktop Apps FreeMicrosoft Eyes Making Desktop Apps Free Submitted by Anon_Poster Eugenia Loli 2005-11-15 Microsoft 70 CommentsEven as Microsoft readies a host of new ad-supported online services to battle rivals, the software maker has been mulling a plan to offer free, ad-supported versions of some of its desktop products, CNET News.com has learned. About The Author Eugenia LoliEx-programmer, ex-editor in chief at OSNews.com, now a visual artist/filmmaker.Follow me on Twitter @EugeniaLoli 70 Comments chekr 2005-11-15 6:42 am EST What is Microsoft hoping to offer me that OpenOffice.org isn’t? I can use OpenOffice.org for free without any pesky ads. Haicube 2005-11-15 7:53 am EST I hate to say you can find your answers in many previous threads about OOo vs MSO. However, you seemed to miss that threat, or maybe just wanna do another zealot thing so I’ll try very shortly to explain it for you.1. MSO has a smaller footprint according to Benchmarks.2. Meaning MSO also is faster than OOo3. MSOffice reads MSO files better than OOo, and like it or not, MSO is the standard for now4. Looking at functionality, you’ll see that OOo lacks a lot of it. Many things come to mind, especially in Impress where charting functions are crippled badly. Another funny thing is trying to make a Background in “writer” to put in your corporate design, it simply looks awful5. Many Enterprises use macros a lot. These won’t work without redesign in OOothese are just 5 things that are annoying ME pretty badly and comes from the top of my head. I’m confident there are 100s of other things, but why mention them as I’m confident you or someone like you, who uses OOo for stuff which is more for MSWorks wouldn’t really care about. hal2k1 2005-11-15 8:17 am EST “these are just 5 things that are annoying ME pretty badly and comes from the top of my head.”Your 1 and 2 are the same thing.Your 3 is only correct for one particular version of Office that you have – all other documents created by other versions of Office are read better by OpenOffice & StarOffice.Your 4 is just plain bias. There are just as many things that OOo does better than MSO.Your 5 assumes an installed base and a reluctance to change to something different – this assumption may be valid but it is of no help at all to Microsoft. People who have Office are likely to keep their current asset. People who are thinking about an upgrade to Office 12 would also look at OOo – and see a far lower expense, no need to change hardware, no licensing worries or fear of audits, and far, far better interoperability.So even your 5 best reasons to stay with MSO turn out in reality to be a 50/50 to stay with (current) MSO – and certainly a “don’t go to Office12” decider. Tom K 2005-11-15 9:33 am EST You just keep thinking that …… While the rest of the world continues to use Office. Reality is tough, isn’t it?Edited 2005-11-15 09:33 hal2k1 2005-11-15 10:24 am EST Reality is fine.I am not in any way put out by what the rest of the world alegedly uses.Meanwhile, the imagined “rest of the world” is supposed to put up with DRM rootkits, spyware, viruses, lack of security, huge management expense (to keep track of licenses), threat of audit of licenses, zero privacy, risk of data and financial compromise, risk of being unable to access their own data, and huge expense for new hardware, new software and extensive retraining – all so they can use Vista and Office 12 and get themselves locked-in to Microsoft and make themselves unable to read open, standard formats.You think?I think not. Not going to happen, Poo.Reality is tough, isn’t it?Edited 2005-11-15 10:37 Tom K 2005-11-15 4:48 pm EST Hehe … your anti-Windows FUD is representative of an 8-point Linux zealot. You see, I have this little system now …Care to back up each and every one of those juicy bits in your list (which you probably went back to edit once you stopped by at the Linux Zealot Archive of Bullshit For Posting)? Hands 2005-11-15 5:42 pm EST I’m not sure that you are even worth responding to since I have never once seen you post something that has facts behind it, nor have I seen you post anything that isn’t inflamatory. Here goes anyway…There was a time when I was actually a fan of Windows and Microsoft. You see, I like when things work with minimal hassle, and in most cases that is what Microsoft delivers. What I don’t like is to have someone dictating what choices I should or shouldn’t have. As a monopoly, MS has imposed its view of how software should be on the world. I don’t even care to argue whether or not what they have done is illegal or unethical. Microsoft’s motives may have been entirely benign or even philanthropical. Regardless, they are a monopoly, and there are certain almost unavoidable results from the existence of a monopoly. One result in the software world is that if you want your product to be available to the widest audience possible, you develop it for the dominant product, which results in that product having more support than any other without having to work as hard.You are entirely correct in stating that Microsoft has the option of selling ad-free software to those that want it. The problem with just about every post I have ever seen from you is that MS products are NOT always the best for every need. If someone needs or prefers MS products and has the money to pay for them, it is natural that they will buy MS products. More power to them if they have actually tested out alternative products and come to the same conclusion. That doesn’t mean that everyone will come to the same conclusion.Not everyone can even afford to pay for MS licenses, and honesty is actually important to some people to the point that they don’t want to use pirated software. What do they do? Currently, there isn’t an option for those people to use MS software. Windows may not seem like that big of an expense to you, but a Windows license is only a drop in the bucket compared to Office. At the end of the day open source alternatives can save people quite a bit while allowing them to use software legally.There are two main motivations for MS to even evaluate doing this. The biggest is that they actually have some competition. Someone has actually managed to challenge MS in an area where they had felt comfortable. The second motivation is that as a business they are starting to face challenges with increasing/maintaining their revenue.So, what happens if MS does offer ad-supported software? Some people will simply purchase a full license to avoid the ads (this is what enterprises will probably do and will therefore probably be the most common). Some will view the ad-supported version as an inexpensive/free option to have MS compatibility. Others will choose truly free (ad-free) alternatives. Tom K 2005-11-15 7:06 pm EST Yeah, I pretty much agree with you about the whole choice thing. What you said could all be summarized as “Do what makes you happy”.Alas, you replied to a post of mine which had close to nothing to do with this. I asked a FUDster to justify his anti-MS post filled with Linux zealot BS. Hands 2005-11-15 8:46 pm EST I think I finally understand you, Poo. Not all of your comments are completely inflammatory, but you certainly have reacted negatively to some of the open source zealotry that exists. Personally, I don’t like zealotry either. It clouds and distorts reality. Bias is understandable, but zealotry…Some of your posts have been voted down unfairly IMO, but when some of your comments come across as being inflammatory and zealous against open source you have to expect those comments to get voted down. Inflammatory comments are against the rules of the forum.I’m still curious to know exactly what you think of MS (Windows in particular), but I think I understand your motivations a little better. Tom K 2005-11-16 12:31 am EST Awww someone understands me. 🙂 You’re pretty much spot-on, though.What do I think of Windows? That’s a hard one. First off, I’ve always used Windows, and I’ve always had it installed on at least one computer. Through both necessity and choice, I’ve learned to live with its quirks and cons, because its pros pay off. By the way, none of this applies to Windows 98 — that was a complete piece of shit that should have never been released upon the world.Windows 2000 and XP are both very fast and very stable operating systems. Their security track record in earlier times was pretty poor. Only with XP SP2 has Microsoft really made Windows more than just an operating system where security seems to be an afterthought. All in all, if you’re an intelligent user, are behind a cheapie NAT router, and are not a gullible fool, you’re pretty safe with Windows, and from day-to-day, it’s a relatively pain-free operating system.Now we get to its design … f–k, I hate its design. I didn’t mind it so much until I tried OS X, and I constantly find myself thinking “WTF? Why can’t they do this in a simpler manner?”. I’m talking about things like the registry, thousands of system files with useless names, the boot process … it’s all pretty bad. When Windows breaks, it breaks … period. You have no choice but to reinstall. Windows is basically a fortified Jenga tower. Sure, it might look solid from the outside, but on the inside … it’s still a freaking Jenga tower.I could go on, but in general … Windows is decent. It gets the job done, I don’t mind it (as long as it stays out of my way), and I don’t have the urge to look for alternatives. The thing is that it could be much better. hal2k1 2005-11-16 10:03 am EST Poo: “All in all, if you’re an intelligent user, are behind a cheapie NAT router, and are not a gullible fool, you’re pretty safe with Windows, and from day-to-day, it’s a relatively pain-free operating system. ”That too has been my experience – with a few exceptions as I shall explain later. I too use a cheapie NAT router and I have a little extra to help – ClamWin anti-virus and adaware, I use Firefox/Thunderbird only at home and I can keep Windows XP systems pretty stable.However – I still got caught when a family member put a “free” CD in the machine on one occassion and it took two weeks to get the system back clean again. I still have had a couple of viruses get through in four years or so.Also I still object to the idea of “buying” software when the supplier still thinks they can restrict the terms of my use of it. I don’t agree at all to the terms in some EULA’s and I resent other people making it so I should agree to such one-sided terms.How does that come about? Members of may family work or go to school and to get any work done at home they have to use compatible computing facilities with the computers in those institutions. That means Microsoft products.Microsoft does everything in its power to prevent its products being inter-operable with other software and other platforms. This is the precise opposite of what I would want as a software customer.Therefore, I have a big problem with Microsoft practices, and I strongly contend that anything can only be a “standard” if all parties can use it. It is not a “standard” highway if only Fords can drive on it. It is not a “standard” mains supply if only Westinghouse appliances will work from it. It is not a “standard” airport if only Boeing planes can land there.Similarly, it is not a “standard” interchange file format or networking protocol or server product or macro language or web page if only Microsoft products can work with it.Poo: “Windows is decent.”No, it is not. It does not inter-operate. It is deliberately designed not to inter-operate. That is the exact opposite of decent.Poo: “The thing is that it could be much better.”Yes indeed, Poo – agree with you totally on that one. Tom K 2005-11-16 8:03 pm EST It interoperates to a degree that it stays out of my way. I regularily use Windows alongside with FreeBSD and OS X — exchange files, run a set of network services that cooperate with each other, etc.As for EULAs … yeah, so they restrict my freedom legally — but I don’t really give a damn. I use Windows because it is the answer to some problems that I have. I also use Windows becaues I like to play games on occasion. If Microsoft wants to stick their finger in my bunghole, that’s fine, because I don’t keep anything of value on my XP box anyway. I understand where you’re coming from, but there are situations (like mine) where it just doesn’t matter much. Hands 2005-11-15 4:11 pm EST LOLIn my mind, an ad-supported Office would just be one more reason not to buy the next version of Office. OOo is good enough for most tasks, and it is getting better all around. If there were an occasional something you absolutely couldn’t do in OOo and you had the option of turing to a fully functional, ad-supported version of Office…Many people already take a similar route. KOffice is good enough for most things, and it is very lean and integrated into KDE. When more functionality is needed, they can use OOo. Tom K 2005-11-15 4:51 pm EST Here comes the clue train: If you were to buy Office, it wouldn’t have ads. You’re talking about a free-of-charge version.Now, given OO.org and Office with ads, I’d still choose Office, if only for the reason that it’s stable and fast. I can’t say my experiences with OO.org have been very pleasant. It was slow right off the bat, and crashed trying to save a document. Whoopdeedoo.Cue the “HAVE YOU TRIED OPENOFFICE.ORG 1.999.999.172 BETA 3 ALPHA 1 PRE-RELEASE??! IT’S MUCH BETTAR!!1!” kids. morglum666 2005-11-15 6:12 pm EST >> “Cue the “HAVE YOU TRIED OPENOFFICE.ORG 1.999.999.172 BETA 3 ALPHA 1 PRE-RELEASE??! IT’S MUCH BETTAR!!1!” kids.”lol, sometimes the truth can be funny. This is part of a greater, more profound truth, is that there aren’t necessarily more quality programmers in the open source arena than the quality you would get from a closed source product like Microsoft Office.Just because you download an open source product doesn’t mean your making it any better at all (and yes, I know about firefox’s feedback, blah blah).Open source is very good for products with a very defined standard (FTP, http, web clients) but when you get into feature/function on products as mature as office, your beat.– Microsoft FanboyEdited 2005-11-15 18:13 Tom K 2005-11-15 6:51 pm EST That’s hardly a fanboy comment. Don’t demean yourself like that — it was sensible and logical. The unfortunate part is that you most likely will be modded down because you alluded to Microsoft Office being a better product than OpenOffce. The GNU/GPL/OSS fanboys here don’t like hearing that. Hands 2005-11-15 8:35 pm EST This is part of a greater, more profound truth, is that there aren’t necessarily more quality programmers in the open source arena than the quality you would get from a closed source product like Microsoft Office.I don’t know that your statement should be considered profound truth, but it’s very difficult to argue either way. MS is a very big company with some very deep pockets. Their programmers are paid to use their time improving software. MS isn’t in the habit of hiring untalented people either. So, someone would be silly to argue about the quality of MS programmers. But, open source programmers contribute their work for other reaons, and who contributes to an open source project isn’t limited by default. MS programmers could even contribute to open source.Open source is very good for products with a very defined standard (FTP, http, web clients) but when you get into feature/function on products as mature as office, your beat.One reason people like OOo is because they are trying to create a very defined standard. Others in this thread have argued about MS Office formats being a standard. They are in fact the de facto “standard” in use today. What many people would like though is to be able to use different programs to access the same data in the same way that many different programs can handle ftp. MS simply hasn’t made that possible. Right now MS isn’t competing solely on the basis of feature/function. They are competing with the advantage of format lock-in. Hands 2005-11-15 3:59 pm EST Even though the first two points are fairly related, they don’t relate to the exact same thing. People complain about programs having a large memory footprint even when the program itself was quite fast. The converse has been known to be true also, though it may be less common. In reality, a program being both slow and memory-hungry can be quite irritating.The third point is in fact true when considering all different Office file types. I have seen OOo do very well with Word files, but working directly with Access files (not through a driver) can be painful in OOo. Some compatibility is lost between Office versions, but it is still better overall than OOo compatibility with all the various types of Office files.Another argument about file compatibility could definitely be made here though. Compatibility with the OpenDocument format should never be lost, and any problem should be simple to fix. The biggest problem being function definitions, but that is being ironed out.The fourth point is bias, but the complaint is valid to a certain degree. I dislike the OOo charting engine as well. I don’t care whether you’re talking about Impress, Calc, Base, or whatever. The current state of the charting engine is insufficient for all but the most basic tasks. You are right about OOo having different functionality however. Working with external graphics is much easier in OOo than in Office.I would agree with your take on the fifth point. Macros can be remade or converted to work with OOo, but it can be an argument against migration.In all, I would say that the negative points for OOo show the relative immaturity of the project. By the time that Office 12 has been out long enough to be considered stable, OOo should be able to resolve the most niggling issues. Many people consider the most irritating issues to have been resolved already. ma_d 2005-11-15 4:04 pm EST 1.) Users don’t care.2.) Users don’t care.3.) No, a standard is a publically available spec which more than one group has contributed to, or been offered the chance to contribute to in a reasonably open method (ie, you can’t have a “no Homer’s” standard, but you could have a “pay us $5K for costs and help out” standard). .Doc is NOT a standard. It’s a commonly adopted format. It is the de facto standard, of sorts.4.) Does it print awful?5.) Not compared to the number of Office users. You see, compared to 1, 100 is many, but compared to 1K, 100 is few. Get the concept? Also, no one is telling everyone to move over. This article shouldn’t even matter to Enterprise, who I would imagine would not be eligible for this advertising thing anyway; I’ve yet to see a free version of an expensive proprietary software that allows profitable use..I’m not a huge fan of OOo either. But I’ve seen what people do with Office, and for probably 40% of them, OOo is still overkill!Once again, benchmarks are for gamers and supercomputer users… Don’t bring up benchmarks about Office software. If you want to call it slow, tell us that saving takes so long it interrupts your work, or it can’t keep up with your typing, or it takes so long to open the paragraph dialog that you forgot why you opened it. DittoBox 2005-11-15 5:21 pm EST Standard, Noun:5. Something, such as a practice or a product, that is widely recognized or employed, especially because of its excellence.http://dictionary.reference.com/search?q=standardThere are two standards in the computer world, De Facto standards like MS’s implementations of things and then there’s OASIS, XML, W3C xHTML etc. Just because something isn’t approved by a standards body doesn’t mean it is a widely used standard. I’m not say I like MS or their “standards” but saying that the Office products aren’t a standard isn’t true. “De Facto” or not, they’re still standards.Just because a De Facto standard lacks “official” legitmacy doesn’t mean it isn’t a standard.Otherwise I completely agree. Ronald Vos 2005-11-15 10:56 am EST What is Microsoft hoping to offer me that OpenOffice.org isn’t? I can use OpenOffice.org for free without any pesky ads.Simple: better MS Office file compatibility. Once that gets fully solved (any tiny glitch is going to put off users), then OOo will conquer all. hal2k1 2005-11-15 11:05 am EST “Simple: better MS Office file compatibility. Once that gets fully solved (any tiny glitch is going to put off users), then OOo will conquer all.”OO.org is already far better at reading files from different versions of MS Office than MS Office already is.OO.org is light-years ahead of MS Office in terms of file interchange and interoperability. MS Office has huge problems with file compatibility and interchange with any other Office product on any other platform, and indeed it has problems even with older versions of itself.MS Office cannot read nor write the format that is likely soon to become the international standard format for Office files.Finally, of all Office products newly introduced or soon to be introduced on to the market, MS Office 12 is likely to be THE product that both: is the least interoperable with all other Office products (including earlier versions of MS Office) and also; is likely to require the most extensive re-training of users. hal2k1 2005-11-15 11:23 am EST Just on this topic of file compatibility, portability and interchange – at work I have to use a current version of Outlook that simply drops Office files. It simply discards Office file attachments.How is that compatible or interoperable in any way?How can I do collaboration on documents if I can’t send the documents?Come to think of it, I wonder what this version of Outlook does with OpenDocument attachments?Perchance I would be better able to interchnge data via e-mail if I DIDN’T USE MS OFFICE FORMAT to store Office files. Hmmmm. OpenDocument looks better and better all the time. nii_ 2005-11-16 3:34 am EST And OpenOffice saves in standard ODF format too. Can still view my files 100 years hence, well, at least my grandchildren cyborgs. BWhaler 2005-11-15 6:56 am EST Windows and MSOffice are becoming a NASCAR car. Hysterical.This is a terrible, terrible idea.First off, companies will never allow it. The cost is in supporting the software, and you just _know_ recuiters will be running ads looking to hire talent away from an employer. Monster will be the #1 advertiser out of the gate, and it will be DOA to companies.And for Individuals? They hate ads in their products. Despite many efforts of Intuit, et al., to get people to accept them, it only works when there is no choice.As OO and alternatives get better, the second they are substitute products for the masses, people will flee.I hope MS tries it. They can’t seem to think of any new good ideas themselves, so they copy everyone else. And in doing so, if it means the end of their monopoly, the industry will be the better for it.Oh, the irony if by copying, MS undoes their illgot monopoly…the irony Pelly 2005-11-15 2:38 pm EST “Windows and MSOffice are becoming a NASCAR car. Hysterical.”I don’t believe the finalized ‘advertising’ would be as overdone as a racing car, but there would probaly be quite a bit of it.There are other places to put ads & such.– From inside an MSO app, if you open a document, there may be a small ad-panel in the window– When you do certain operations, there may be small ads that pop upThe only aspect that comes to my mind is, “How does Microsoft plan to ‘update’ the ads?”Consider that if this becomes a reality,Miscrosoft will want to update the ads from time to time. This means MS will have access to our machines to do so.— Will this de done automatically?— Will users be allowed to ‘decline’ new ads?— Will users be able to use MS apps if they decline new ads from MS?This situation seems to scream loudly of “intrusion,” and loss of user security.Sorry, I don’t like how this sounds, and it’s only in the discussion phases. Kroc 2005-11-15 7:05 am EST And next week they’ll be releasing a box for a standard 5.25 inch bay where you pop in coins at a regular interval to keep your computer running…Only the thinking of companies like Real, the RIAA and Microsoft could come up with something so offensive.Google will use this to their advantage if it is to be true. Robocoastie 2005-11-15 2:22 pm EST just what we need – more adware. jptros 2005-11-15 4:44 pm EST Right, and Microsoft is going to force you to use this software as opposed to buying a version that doesn’t have ads.Give and people want more. Don’t use it if you don’t like it. JLF65 2005-11-15 9:44 pm EST And next week they’ll be releasing a box for a standard 5.25 inch bay where you pop in coins at a regular interval to keep your computer running…Only the thinking of companies like Real, the RIAA and Microsoft could come up with something so offensive.Actually, this is already the case at both colleges and Kinkos across the country. Back at the University of Houston, one of the four computer labs used “parking meters” on the computer power supplies. Keep feeding it money or the power automatically goes off. Kinkos has been renting time on computers for more than a decade. The only thing new would be to see this on home computers. raver31 2005-11-15 7:38 am EST After all, nearly every webpage you visit is coming down with adverts.I know myself, that my eyes have become accustomed to scanning the page for the content and totally ignoring the ads.I dont think there would be any difference with ad-supported software, I would ignore them ads too, like I used to ignore Opera ads.But one question arises….If Microsoft used any feedback at all from the ads, like if you click on one type of ads, then the software reported back, to get more of the same… would Microsoft be then breaking its own guidelines on spyware ? devurandom 2005-11-15 11:44 am EST After all, nearly every webpage you visit is coming down with adverts. After all, I use adblock.used any feedback at all from the ads, like if you click on one type of ads, then the software reported back, to get more of the same… would Microsoft be then breaking its own guidelines on spyware ?I wonder if AdAware now would remove Windows itself…Seriously, here we’re looking at an entire OS becoming adware/spyware.Of course someone smart enough will make some ad-blocking app, therefore making Windows free as in beer. This won’t make MS any less ridicolous. hal2k1 2005-11-15 12:02 pm EST “I dont think there would be any difference with ad-supported software, I would ignore them ads too, like I used to ignore Opera ads. ”Or you could live in a sane world and use open and advertising-free and zero cost and equally functional (or arguablly improved) office software that also supported cross-platform interoperability and international standard formats.Opera was arguably a better internet browser than Firefox. However, even though Opera was free for download it was adware – and now Firefox is easily many, many times more used than Opera as a result.BTW – Opera is now add-free and zero cost (and it is still a long way behind Firefox). Is that also the next step for MS Office after it becomes adware, do you think? eMagius 2005-11-15 2:49 pm EST Opera is still leagues beyond Firefox. Firefox is only now (with 1.5) catching up to where Opera was in functionality in 1998, and is still far, far behind in performance, stability, and security. On the other hand, it’s only a few years behind in standards support.While OpenOffice.org has a decent feature set, it’s so incredibly slow, buggy, and clunky that it’s not a real competitor to MS Office except amongst those who value ideology over actual products (much like with Firefox, really). moleskine 2005-11-15 3:16 pm EST Opera had its chance and blew it. Too late now.Microsoft have had a decade or more to perfect MS Office. Not one except a utopian would expect Open Office to catch them from scratch in a couple of years. Considering how far they’ve got already, the Open Office folks have done one heck of a job. I certainly don’t find Open Office 2.0 slow, buggy and clunky. Sure it could be faster, but the OO team have taken that one on board and it’s clear that fairly soon it will be. eMagius 2005-11-15 5:51 pm EST From the perspective of a user, how much OpenOffice.org has accomplished in X number of years or how much effort they put in or how much hardship they overcame doesn’t count for squat. What matters is the quality of the final product.Likewise, it shouldn’t matter whether you think Bill Gates is the devil incarnate or not — if Microsoft Office is a superior piece of software, it should be used instead of inferior solutions. Hands 2005-11-15 6:00 pm EST Likewise, it shouldn’t matter whether you think Bill Gates is the devil incarnate or not — if Microsoft Office is a superior piece of software, it should be used instead of inferior solutions.I don’t think Bill Gates is anything more than a businessman. That doesn’t mean that I want to support his business at my expense though. Pure superiority isn’t as important as USP and ROI. Even a product that is considered inferior may exhibit a far better ROI than the superior product especially in cases where there isn’t a USP involved.Of course, some people will pay $100,000 or more for a home theater when very similar results can be had for under $10,000. Lumbergh 2005-11-15 7:45 am EST Maybe Microsoft is a little wary of Google after all. After Longhorn is released they could just do something with XAML on Longhorn and XP. It’ll probably look nearly native.If you can’t afford it, then you get the adware stuff. Normal web pages do it, why not apps.I wish Microsoft would get more competition on the desktop, but the competition has been fairly weak. What I really want is for Firefox to get past that 20% (or higher) where Microsoft is really forced to take it seriously. timosa 2005-11-15 8:04 am EST So, in future the MS Office Assistant may start offering me tobacco when I download a Word document from web site warning about dangers of smoking… chemical_scum 2005-11-15 1:07 pm EST The answer to Office assistant:http://www.remote-films.com/salmondays/downloads/paper_clip.mpgBTW if the MS Office assistant becomes redundant I am sure he will be able to find work at Vigor:http://vigor.sourceforge.net/ nii_ 2005-11-16 3:37 am EST Keyword advertising…The free (costless) MS Office version will randomly (or maybe clerverly) insert advertisment words and phrases into your documents Just imagine that work report now modifiying your business plan to recommend sponsors… Moulinneuf 2005-11-15 10:32 am EST Anyone as a definitive list of what there offers will be , or its just renaming of passport and spaces.msn.com ?If they borrowed a page from Google , wich as all there tools free and they make money from service and higher end results and from ads , if they offer better product then what is already offered in those category they choose to enter , I dont see why people would not use there offers , heck I might use them like I do MSN from time to time.The problem is that with Microsoft there software tends to be highly buggy , time limited and so full of security hole that hacker have a better sense of your life then you do. MSN and Hotmail come to mind. Great product that could use a bit of revision.One thing I can say is that if Office live is like office 12 but Online and cheap ( as in free ) and if it work great a lot of people might be interested in using it , hey if they open up there gateway to other platform I bet Apple and GNU/Linux and the few BSD desktop user will use it too from time to time.I guess we will have to wait and see. moleskine 2005-11-15 10:36 am EST This is complete BS. The advertising industry isn’t remotely big enough to support the huge expectations now being placed on it. Essentially, the whole of the development of the internet over the next few years is being posited on advertising revenue. It ain’t gonna happen.At best this is just a “me too” move by Microsoft with the aim of being a spoiler for Google. Besides, MS make their money by selling MS Office not give it away in exchange for advertising revenue.My guess is that all this stuff will eventually change into a subscription model. But first, we need several more generations of intelligent usb key fobs, client/server set-ups and the like. Eventually the technology will get good enough and someone will crack the right way to off Joe Public the fabled dumb terminal linked to an intelligent network. Whover does is likely to become a billionaire fairly quickly. DevL 2005-11-15 1:16 pm EST Now we get Clippy with ads…:-P butters 2005-11-15 1:24 pm EST all digital services thereof will either be free (beer) or ad-supported. Hard goods and non-digital service providers will buy the advertisements, and therefore the digital services networks will work more-or-less like the television/radio networks of old. The only difference being that the digital services serve society’s need for communication and productivity in addition to entertainment. So the capacity for advertisement through digital services is far greater (and more flexible) than through traditional entertainment media.It’s not that Microsoft *wants* to generate advertising revenue from digital services that usually provide licensing revenue. It’s that it has to start now, while it still can collect licensing revenue. The road to a predominantly ad-driven general-purpose software economy might take a couple decades, but Microsoft can’t afford not to invest for the future today.One might be quick to count them out–how can Microsoft make up all that ground on Google? But one has to remember that Microsoft has a more-or-less guaranteed licensing revenue stream from Windows and Office for the next 5-10 years, plus billions in the bank, tens of thousands of developers on the payroll, and countless more in the form of strategic partnerships. How much of a lead do you believe Google has? How much smarter do you think Google’s engineers are? How successful has Eric Schmidt been at competing with Microsoft?If Microsoft’s post-Longhorn, “bet-the-company” initiative is to be a better Google, do you really think they have no shot? I seriously hope that Google opens up its APIs completely and becomes the de facto platform for FOSS web services development. That is the only way Google can fight a full-out MS onslaught. japail 2005-11-15 3:57 pm EST 1997: In the future all services will be free or ad-supported.2000: NetZero: Internet access is a civil right!2005: PeoplePC: Please pay us a monthly fee to look at our ad dialer.Certain companies have a lot of success with ads, but it would be a mistake to assume that ad revenues are an invariant revenue source that will support entire industries. Who really wants that anyway? All that means is that the cost of supporting these companies will be transferred to the goods you actually pay for, independently of whether you use these services or not. If you don’t use MS Office, do you really want the cost of advertising there spread out over your shoes, food, clothing, and hammers?Eventually companies will want to see a lot of returns on their advertising investments. They aren’t going to tolerate the click fraud that has plagued Ad Words, or people becoming so blind to static web ads that they don’t even look at them if they don’t block them. If they can generate more sales with a 12s placement in a television show than a month somewhere in Microsoft Office do you think they’ll pay Microsoft a lot of money? WorknMan 2005-11-15 2:11 pm EST There is a difference between anything that’s ad-supported and free.Free != ad-supported. In other words, if I have to put up with ads in exchange for using the software or service, then it’s not free. TaterSalad 2005-11-15 2:30 pm EST I don’t see why people are going into a frenzy over this? Ad supported software has been around for quite some time now. Look at DivX and its player, they are ad supported. Opera was ad supported for a long time too. So really, whats the problem? Its not like Microsoft was the first to do this or invented it. unoengborg 2005-11-15 4:13 pm EST The problem is that it probably doesn’t work. As soon as Opera got enough money to support their development from elsewhere they dropped the ads. If it had been a real profitable business they would have kept the ad system.Now, they removed it to be able to expand into the Firefox/Mozilla userbase. hal2k1 2005-11-16 9:37 am EST “Now, they (Opera) removed it (ads) to be able to expand into the Firefox/Mozilla userbase.”Unfortunately for Opera, Firefox/Mozilla has a big advantage over Opera – Firefox/Mozilla is open source which is a big thing in an internet browser. Opera is “tainted by its past” in being adware, which tends to triple-underline all that is bad about being closed source – the provider can hide things in the product. MattK 2005-11-15 3:09 pm EST Somebody please explain to me, why is Microsoft still the child who can do no wrong, no matter how bad they are. People will put up with crashes, incompatibility, litigation and high price from MS. Any other company, the slightest glitch or provocation is reason to deem it crap.Anywho, remember that MS has become powerful, not by being best, but by being good enough. Wordperfect and lotus were once better products than MS Office! japail 2005-11-15 4:00 pm EST You must be from the other universe where complaining about Microsoft isn’t so common it didn’t make its way into an intentionally bad joke in an episode of Futurama. archiesteel 2005-11-15 10:51 pm EST I think what the OP was asking is why people stick with MS despite the fact that they complain about it all the time.My personal theory: inertia. Most people will rather stay with the devil they know than face the devil they don’t, at least until they reach a certain point (which most won’t).I mean, personally it took me quite a few years before I switched away from MS, and this is the same reason why I don’t actively encourage people to switch…they’ll do it when they’re ready, and at that time I’ll be there to help them out if they want (because that’ll still be less of a pain than helping them out with their Windows troubles!) japail 2005-11-16 2:57 am EST Some people can’t switch because the software they use doesn’t exist on other platforms without relying on virtualization to use Windows to run it. Others don’t switch because their experience with Microsoft has been pleasant enough and what they use it for isn’t broken and thus doesn’t need fixing. Others don’t switch because Microsoft products aren’t bad enough to warrant the cost of switching. That is to say that inertia is one of the reasons, and there are probably still reasons other than what I have enumerated still to be stated. SolarBear 2005-11-15 3:20 pm EST … and I do say if it DOES (read previous, insightful comments on how the ad industry is not yet solid enough to support this), then the business world would still buy MS Office because they a) don’t want workers losing precious time looking at flashy ads and b) there could be ads from Monster and such offering IT jobs.On the other hand, this “might” be interesting for the public. From the article : The document also sheds light on Microsoft’s concerns over the erosion of revenue from shrink-wrapped software, particularly in the consumer market. This being due, in good part, to piracy. But since you’ve got a perfectly legal version, free to use, online, why would people bother with piracy ? This could be a win-win situation for both Microsoft and its home Office users. I’m sticking with OOo – for other reasons – but if they can pull this one out, w00t. Fusion 2005-11-15 3:39 pm EST The last thing college students want are pop-up ads that steal focus from their word processor, while they’re up at 4am writing an essay that’s due at 8am.=)~ ma_d 2005-11-15 3:54 pm EST Welcome to monopolistic take overs take 2….Only this time, they’re attacking a decent company (google).The question will be, how much lower will the OEM with ads price be for people like Dell? I can’t imagine them passing up the chance to rid themselves of those pesky mass sales and replace it with a highly profitable advertising business to the majority of the US…. unoengborg 2005-11-15 3:58 pm EST 1) People don’t like ads.2) People are not going to pay much money to get rid off the ads, even if they don’t like them.The result will be that the value of MS-Office and office software in general will be lowered in the eyes of the general public.The only good thing (from Microsoft POV) is that a move like this would kill the remaining other non free Office suits. It will not help them much against OpenOffice that probably is their strongest competitor.To get the OpenOffice customers Microsoft need to conform to free and open standards, and if they do that, they are on a slippery slope. ma_d 2005-11-15 4:05 pm EST I don’t think Microsoft cares. As long as they keep developers under their leash their completely safe on Windows. Hands 2005-11-15 4:25 pm EST Occasional ads can be ignored. That’s the whole reason that people can tolerate ad-supported dialers (they’re not online all of the time). People don’t have to use Office or even Windows all of the time.Right now I dual-boot my computer. I use Linux most of the time, and occasionally, I boot into Windows. Within the next couple of years instead of dual-booting I’ll be using a Linux hosted Xen machine with a Windows client (if needed). Multicore processors with virtualization built in are going to make a lot of things possible. I figured that I’d just use an old version of Windows as the client. If MS made an ad-supported Vista, I could install both a Win2k client and a Vista client for any odd compatibility issues. Gadget 2005-11-15 4:59 pm EST Ad supported Windows. How would this be any different from the current Windows OS? You can’t get away from the ads as it is w/ Internet Explorer. Seems like they are innovating their own *feature* rich IE. I guess what will be different is MS will be getting a cut on all that ad revenue. Hands 2005-11-15 5:51 pm EST Bingo!MS will be able to get a cut on the ad revenue because they will be able to place ads anywhere, not just in the browser. I can’t wait to see the Coca-Cola taskbar. Maybe the resurrection of the side-bar in Vista was more for ads than functionality. LOL.Enough of the conspiracy theories though. Hollywood is already doing something similar. It’s an old concept. Just notice how conspicuously obvious the labels of certain products are when you’re watching a movie (or even TV). I’m actually surprised that MS hasn’t talked about doing this before now. timkar 2005-11-15 5:22 pm EST >I know myself, that my eyes have become accustomed to>scanning the page for the content and totally>ignoring the ads.Shshshsh, don’t let on. Let ’em think we’re looking at their ads. harmison 2005-11-15 6:10 pm EST OpenOffice2 works quite nicely and has never crashed on me during saving (?). I have it installed on OS X, Windows and yes even Linux with no issues to report other than the fact that I’d like X11 to not be needed in OS X.Try it again troll. Then make your comments fairly. Tom K 2005-11-15 7:01 pm EST Why the hell would I try something that …1. Is slow and bloated?2. Requires X11 under OS X to run?3. Does not integrate well with the OS X environment?4. Sticks out like a sore thumb among other OS X software?Why would I do that, when I already have something that is fast, stable, and pretty? (Office 2004) Please … tell me. harmison 2005-11-15 9:10 pm EST Because….unless you bootlegged 2004 for OS X…..OO2 (and Apple Works for that matter) is worth trying simply because of the cost (lack).Integration issues? Works fine here on Tiger.X11….need it for Gimp already…and other Unix stuff I want to run non issue.Icon doesn’t stick out on dock anymore than anything else.FEED THE TROLL…WATCH IT GROW Tom K 2005-11-16 12:35 am EST Wow … what a useless reply, and excellent shot at convincing me to switch to OO.org!First off … I’ve seen OO.org 2.0 in action on OS X, and it is anything but pretty. Not only does it stick out like a sore thumb, but it does not *feel* like an OS X application. That’s the #1 thing about usability … consistency in feel.I don’t have X11 installed, and refuse to install it. It’s an ugly POS.I was willing to pay the relatively low price for the Student and Teacher edition of Office 2004, because things like compatibility, integration, feel, and aesthetics are important to me. If they aren’t important to you, then that’s fine — just remember that not everyone is like you. joelito_pr 2005-11-16 12:08 am EST I for one welcome our new adware filled overlordsOh wait, i forgot this aint’ /. BWhaler 2005-11-16 1:12 pm EST I hope they do it.I’d love to get Office and Windows for free.Because it will be less than 24 hours before someone writes the code to strip the advertisements out.No ads. Free Windows. Free Office.And MS is arrogant enough to think they can “lock-down” their software and make it impossible.It’s so sad to watch Microsoft nowadays. No good ideas themselves. So they copy Google. But in tragic ways.Anyway, I really hope they do this. It’ll be great for Open Office and Apple–despite what the MS paid posters here claim–and I’ll have fantastic software for free. JustThinkIt 2005-11-16 1:33 pm EST I think Microsoft is floating this “ad supported” boat to save face.They know they can never come out and make anything free, even though their Office sales are going to continue to decline. What to do? Say the new version is ad-supported.They don’t care if they never make a penny on ads. They just don’t want to become their enemy, open source software. Ads allows them to keep up the appearance of making money when they aren’t/probably won’t ever again with Office.Personally it means I will avoid their free offerings like the plague. MSN is an ugly inefficient dog compared to Yahoo and GMail, my preferred free email sites.So go ahead, MS, run your “free with ads” products. Soon MS Office will go the way of Egghead software stores.