Microsoft makes most of its money from Windows and Office, and are under increasing pressure from competitors. Not for the OS: Linux is nowhere close to prime-time1, but there are plenty of Office competitors out there. Offline there’s OpenOffice.org, which emulates many of Word and Excel’s major features, while online are the simpler but incredibly easy-to-use Google Docs / Zoho, which are far superior to their offline counterparts when it comes to sharing, portability and backup.
So, Microsoft today announced its move: a free, ad-supported version of Microsoft Works. By the end of the year.
Works. You remember. The crappy word processor and spreadsheet that people use until they find that Word / Excel can’t actually read Works’ default file type. With adverts. Adverts. Who bought Works anyway? It was always bundled with new PCs, and any salesman worth his salary would flog an upgrade to Office.
I think the web 2.0 reaction is: weaaaaak. How about an online version of Word, with all the extra functionality it offers over Google Docs etc., that people pay £5 a month for? Or a cut-down version of Word itself? Or an ad-supported version of Office, for non-commercial use? Anything but Works.
- most recent problem: no networking, which turned out to be because I’d gone to the network dialog box via the menu system instead of the system tray icon. The same dialog box. Fixing it required editing text files. I rest my case [↩]