Microsoft has announced that it will be launching its Equipt software subscription service in the UK next week. We announced the service in July, when it became available to US customers for $70 per year.
The service offers Microsoft Office Home and Student 2007, Windows Live OneCare, and Windows Live tools for an annual subscription of £59.99 (the exchange rate rip-off is at work again). It will initially be sold through PC World.
Is it worth it? Well, you can pick up Office H&S 2007 for less than the price of a year’s subscription, so if you don’t need the anti-virus software, it doesn’t really seem worth it. Presumably, as new versions of the Office and OneCare software are released, subscribers can access them, but there’s no guarantee that Microsoft won’t change the rules down the line.
With Equipt, you’re renting the software instead of owning it outright (yes, I know strictly speaking Microsoft still owns the software, but you know what I mean). If you stop paying Microsoft, you no longer have access to the software, whereas if you buy the software, you can use it for as long as your PC’s operating system can run it.
While consumers may be used to subscription services for broadband, all-you-can-eat music, mobile phones, satellite and cable TV, and so on, I’m not sure many are ready for hiring basic computer software. What do you think?