Microsoft has announced that it will sell a subscription-based bundled version of its Office and OneCare software in the States later this month.
The $70 per year offering will enable users to gain access to the latest versions of the software without having to buy them outright. Whenever Microsoft updates the software (say, from Office 2007 to “Office 14” expected in 2009) users will automatically get the upgrade.
Group product manager for the Office software, Bryson Gordon, said the offer was primarily targeting users who had upgraded their PC and either used their old Office software, or copied it from a friend.
Office is the star player, of course, with most people still using it – either out of choice or because nearly everyone else does – but OneCare could benefit if bundled, though it currently has a rather poor reputation.
The Equipt software can be installed on up to three computers at the same time, with minor upgrades (bug fixes and features) being installed as required.
The software subscription model is quite well known in the corporate world, but still quite a new concept for home users, though software such as anti-virus protection often requires users to pay an annual fee to continue to receive upgrades.
No word on whether the service is coming to the UK.