Microsoft to Replace Works With 'Office 2010 Starter'
One of the older products in Microsoft's stable will be put out to pasture next year when the company ships the next version of its Office productivity suite: Microsoft Works, its low-end, somewhat-simplified bundle of word processing, spreadsheet, database and calendar tools.
Works -- which dates back to the days of DOS -- has shown up as a freebie on, it seems, nearly every name-brand Windows PC shipped in the United States over the past 15 years, but its actual use has been a lot lower. Most people use Microsoft's full-fledged Office bundle -- or, in recent years, such free alternatives as Google's Google Docs Web-based applications or the free, open-source OpenOffice.org.
So last week, the company quietly announced that it would drop Works next year and instead offer PC manufacturers a free, ad-supported Office 2010 Starter.
Starter 2010 will arguably be just as cut-down as Works: It will include only versions of Word and Excel, leaving out PowerPoint and Outlook. But because it will feature "basic functionality for creating, viewing and editing documents" in those word-processing and spreadsheet tools, it will at least put an end to the long-running issue of Works users unintentionally sharing files in Works format with people running Office.
At the same time, though, Office 2010 will also feature a free, Web-based version. So Office Starter 2010 could wind up going as unused as those bundled copies of Works do today.
What's your prediction? And when Works is gone, will you miss it? Please share your remembrances, if any, in the comments ...
October 13, 2009; 11:43 AM ET
Categories: Productivity , Windows
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