April 18, 2008
Microsoft has launched a private beta program for the eventual launch of a subscription service that will combine its Office productivity suite with its OneCare security solution.The program, code named Albany, rolls Word, Excel, PowerPoint, and OneNote, plus the currently free Live Mail, Messenger, and Photo Gallery, into a single installation. The move is part of Microsoft's "sofware plus services" strategy for addressing the growing hosted application market (read Google Apps) while preserving its packaged software business. By mixing OneNote into the package, Microsoft includes a component that consumers have shown they're still willing to pay for -- security.
The subscription model means that customers will always have the latest versions of the software, but it also means that if they stop paying, they'll lose the paid components. Pricing was not announced.PC Magazine, InformationWeek
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