Microsoft offers PC makers Office Starter for $2, but with Bing bar

Microsoft is planning to offer PC manufacturers $2 per copy of Microsoft Office Starter 2010, if they pre-install the Bing bar and Windows Live Essentials, according to zdnet.

PC makers can also opt to not install the Bing bar and Windows Live Essentials, but will pay $5 per copy of Microsoft Office Starter 2010.  A significant price difference when PC makers are purchasing licenses in very large quantities.

Microsoft strategy is to get their Bing search engine and other Windows tools, found in Windows Live Essentials like Movie Maker, Live messenger, Mail, Writer, etc onto PCs, increasing their marketshare for their products.  The installation will also set the default search engine on the users browser to Bing, and MSN as their homepage.

oem-office-2010

Note the acryonom use, OPC is OEM Partner Central, H&S is Home and Student, H&B is Home and Business, Pro is Professional. OPK is OEM Preinstallation Kit, the Office single image that OEM manufactures use to pre-load Office 2010 onto new PCs.

Microsoft will also be releasing Microsoft Office 2010 single-license key cards, which won't actually contain any data on them, other than a serial key.  These key cards will be available in major retail stores, which will active Office 2010 on customers PCs.  Microsoft Office Starter 2010 comes with an ad-based version of Word and Excel, with limited functionality.  Users can unlock their copy of Office at any time.

image courtesy of zdnet

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And this is why I suggest that the first thing you do to a new PC is wipe it's hard drive. Gets rid of the crap, and ultimately saves more time than dealing with the crap.

collegeHumorMan said,
And this is why I suggest that the first thing you do to a new PC is wipe it's hard drive. Gets rid of the crap, and ultimately saves more time than dealing with the crap.

Roger that. But that is an option for more experienced computer users (a minority), these are not the customers MS is targeting with this "crap".

Billus said,
OpenOffice is a rash on Linux. Wine + Office 07 = Productive. Might try and get Office 2010 started.

OpenOffice even considered adapting the Ribbon. But most of its users resisted.

thenonhacker said,

OpenOffice even considered adapting the Ribbon. But most of its users resisted.

Legally are they even allowed? Ms's terms stated it could be used in interfaces for applications that don't compete with MS's own apps. If they were to use it they'd probably need to license it.

Smigit said,
Legally are they even allowed? Ms's terms stated it could be used in interfaces for applications that don't compete with MS's own apps. If they were to use it they'd probably need to license it.

I've played around a bit with OpenOffice alphas using their "Ribbon". They are similar in some ways, but others not so much. The menu bar is still there as well as the toolbars. Also, the color scheme, layout, tab location, etc. of their "Ribbon" differs. (They also use a different name for their "Ribbon" and such.) I think OpenOffice would be fine, excepting the fact that OpenOffice got many of its users because they didn't like the Ribbon in the first place.

fixxxer2010 said,
open office is a good free alternative. but ill stick to office 2007 myself.

OpenOffice.Org is a good free alternative if you aren't exchanging Word documents that rely heavily on Word-only features (such as the Review/Track Changes tools).

I'm actually really excited about an Office 2010 starter kit that includes Word and Excel (which is basically all I use anyway). Thats basically all I need for the rare occasion that I view documents at home. I don't think I would mind the adverts as much as I mind the price of Office...even the Home and Student editions are a bit pricey for how often I use them.

Whoever thought of that business scheme is a genius. Greater profits from companies who do not want bing. More ad revenue from people using Bing.

The installation will also set the default search engine on the users browser to Bing, and MSN as their homepage.

What does office has to do with browser? They aren't authorized for touching my browser (Opera)

Antraxek said,
The installation will also set the default search engine on the users browser to Bing, and MSN as their homepage.

What does office has to do with browser? They aren't authorized for touching my browser (Opera)

Unless you are the PC maker, will will never see the installation which means you won't even have opera on your pc when you get it which also means when you install opera, you can change the default page to whatever you want.

Antraxek said,
The installation will also set the default search engine on the users browser to Bing, and MSN as their homepage.

What does office has to do with browser? They aren't authorized for touching my browser (Opera)

errr...they are when you click "agree" to their terms of service... to get the software, you agree to it. or the OEM does. *shrug*

AgentGray said,

errr...they are when you click "agree" to their terms of service... to get the software, you agree to it. or the OEM does. *shrug*

"Microsoft is planning to offer PC manufacturers $2 per copy of Microsoft Office Starter 2010, if they pre-install the Bing bar and Windows Live Essentials, according to zdnet."

Common user should never even see it

Yeah you won't see it. When you buy the system the toolbar will be installed and a default search engine set most likely. Once you actually have the PC in your hands you can uninstall the toolbar and set your own search engine.

It's just a deal to have some presets set when the computer is sold.

nifke said,
Open Officie is crap.

It's funny because whenever I saved a document in open office the entire suit would crash and a document recovery utility would overwrite the saved document I had saved

It's a joke IMO.

nifke said,
Open Officie is crap.

+1
The day OpenOffice doesn't destroy my document formatting whenever I save, is the day I switch to OpenOffice and don't mind the dated UI.

Sonic. said,

It's funny because whenever I saved a document in open office the entire suit would crash and a document recovery utility would overwrite the saved document I had saved

It's a joke IMO.

Oh god... That's bad... I didn't have that particular problem, but it seemed to crash randomly when I hit buttons under version 2... 3 crashed less (But still crashed)... But also lacked features that I use in Word often (That I didn't even notice were missing from 2 because of all the crashing... LOL).

bluarash said,
Powerpoint? I believe for most home users it is probably more important than Excel.

Why would home users want powerpoint? That's more of a business oriented app, not that excel isn't either, but you could use excel at home more than powerpoint imo.

bluarash said,
Powerpoint? I believe for most home users it is probably more important than Excel.

Home users use Powerpoint? I've use the app like twice in my life and didn't enjoy using it then. In my mind just the "suites" us it I never equated it with home use. I use Outlook at work the most of course. Surprisingly OneNote has become my second most often used app, followed by word, then excel. I actually use Access more then Powerpoint.

satus said,
This is a good deal. Word and Excel for $5 or $2 is more than enough for normal users

If you'll look here, honey, I've created a presentation to explain why I was sleeping with the neighbor....

Asmodai said,

Home users use Powerpoint? I've use the app like twice in my life and didn't enjoy using it then. In my mind just the "suites" us it I never equated it with home use. I use Outlook at work the most of course. Surprisingly OneNote has become my second most often used app, followed by word, then excel. I actually use Access more then Powerpoint.

It can be used commonly for any type of presentation. I think I was thinking more along the lines of high school or college. Of course, then you get a discount. I'll go back on what I said. I think a better option would have been Word and OneNote, of course than this takes away from home budgeting with Excel. I guess the Word and Excel bundle is not that bad.

However, given that Office Web apps is going to offer Word, Excel, PowerPoint and OneNote essentially for free... it seems to bit overpriced to offer a student edition with the same applications for $130+ and a basic, Word and Excel with ads (and cost).

Still, overall... it is probably not a bad deal.

I've created PowerPoint presentations for school on numerous occasions. I wouldn't dare even try doing it with OpenOffice because of compatibility reasons. I think home users (students) use it far more than you might imagine.

bluarash said,
Powerpoint? I believe for most home users it is probably more important than Excel.

I would agree with the consensus that Excel is used much more than Powerpoint at home...

GP007 said,

Why would home users want powerpoint?

Students would want to use it...non students not so much so I imagine.

Edited by Smigit, May 12 2010, 5:49am :

Thats a very good move on their part. This isn't much of any issue for me as I will be using the full blown of the Office suite anyways.

I thought starter was free with ads....
dont force bing to all PC microsoft.... your search engine is not the best.

still1 said,
I thought starter was free with ads....
dont force bing to all PC microsoft.... your search engine is not the best.

"the best" is arguable... it's my default, gets me more of what I want more often than google and looks a lot better.

AgentGray said,

"the best" is arguable... it's my default, gets me more of what I want more often than google and looks a lot better.

Yes, but I often found it wouldn't show content that I had made, when Google would (it was even on MS's own WL Spaces, I think).

still1 said,
I thought starter was free with ads....
dont force bing to all PC microsoft.... your search engine is not the best.

Bing has improved a great deal. It's become a very solid search engine. I've tried many search engines over the years and always went back to Google. Bing finally made me change my default from Google... Though I still have to use Google for technical searches ironically... Bing for everything else is great.

Alex_The_Cat said,
Pirates are offering Office 2010 Professional Plus for 1$ without the adds

+1
I charge $5 bucks if I'm selling to a n00b.

bluarash said,
I'll take mine without a Trojan and, or root-kit (thank you very much).

+1 I love the people that brag about stealing software...

bluarash said,
I'll take mine without a Trojan and, or root-kit (thank you very much).

But the ads in this package are trojans and rootkits straight from Microsoft.

The ads are probably like those in GMail or Hotmail... One Liner at the top or something of that nature. Microsoft wouldn't put annoying graphical ads into their office starter... But then again thats Microsoft so lets see lol...

techbeck said,
Depends on how intrusive the Bing toolbar and ads are.

The Bing Bar in Internet Explorer is pretty much like any other toolbar you'll find for IE, like the Yahoo toolbar and the Ask toolbar.

Also, the ads are on the bottom-right corner of the Office window, promoting the retail versions of Office 2010. They are placed in a sidebar that will not be able to be closed.

@AlexWeb - That's nice, the post wasn't to compare Office Starter to OpenOffice, this is something that a lot of people would love to have on their computers and this is a very big move on Microsoft's part...

robsleezy said,
@AlexWeb - That's nice, the post wasn't to compare Office Starter to OpenOffice, this is something that a lot of people would love to have on their computers and this is a very big move on Microsoft's part...

Yeh but I don't think any one would really want to look at ads while working on office documents.

thealexweb said,

Yeh but I don't think any one would really want to look at ads while working on office documents.

It's just a small box in the bottom right corner of the screen.

thealexweb said,

Or you could use OpenOffice and have no ads.

I don't like OpenOffice. I have no qualms over buying MS Office.

thealexweb said,

Yeh but I don't think any one would really want to look at ads while working on office documents.

Then they can pay for Office... If they don't want to pay for office, then they can do that too, but they get an ad supported version. Not an outrageous strategy as far as I'm concerned...

As for the comparison to OpenOffice, I really have to disagree there. Having tried OpenOffice there really is no comparison whatsoever to Office in terms of stability, feature set, or quality of the software...

excalpius said,
Yes, the MS Office trialware thing was always most lame. This is a much better solution in every way.

No, it is not.
Sell a new pc buyer a coupon for $2 to download and install Bing + Office starter or $5 coupon just for Office starter. Or, better still, sell these coupons to every Windows user for the same price.

thealexweb said,
Rather use OpenOffice than this, only two programs, Word and Excel and they have adverts.

Yeh, but OpenOffice.org is crap. Only geeks use it really, and even those that do are just using it to be awkward.

King Mustard said,

Yeh, but OpenOffice.org is crap. Only geeks use it really, and even those that do are just using it to be awkward.

OpenOffice isn't that bad, it can do a lot more than this Office starter crap and you son't get crapware bundled.

thealexweb said,
Rather use OpenOffice than this, only two programs, Word and Excel and they have adverts.

Why can't you use them in conjunction? Word and Excel 2010 are far superior than their counterparts in OO. Of course, maybe not in the limited fashion.

thealexweb said,
Rather use OpenOffice than this, only two programs, Word and Excel and they have adverts.

A kick to the face is more enjoyable than OpenOffice.

I am not sure I agree. Since version 3, it has gotten pretty good. Even the grammar checker add-on with 3.2 is not bad. It is not Word or WordPerfect, but it really is not that bad. I would rate at as a solid low B product. For many, it will be all they need. It sure beats having to pay $150 or more for access to a presentation program for those of us no longer in school or willing to get a pirated copy.

thealexweb said,
Rather use OpenOffice than this, only two programs, Word and Excel and they have adverts.

OO is the devil

thealexweb said,

OpenOffice isn't that bad, it can do a lot more than this Office starter crap and you son't get crapware bundled.

Ads aside where does it say that the copies of Word and Excel 2010 are aren't the full versions you get in one of the other retail copies? I think you're jumping to conclusions on this one.

OpenOffice is ok as long as you don't have to open MS Office docs (like for school or work). Compatibility isn't the greatest. OO is great for a free alternative though.

thealexweb said,

OpenOffice isn't that bad, it can do a lot more than this Office starter crap and you son't get crapware bundled.


You can do more than starter but the functionality and usability is broken. I use Open Office every day at work. There is a great amount of issues and bugs with Calc and Writer.

thealexweb said,
Rather use OpenOffice than this, only two programs, Word and Excel and they have adverts.

Generally speaking,
Some of us take math notes, use charts, arrows and other features that are either hidden or unsupported by OO...

Edited by Udedenkz, May 11 2010, 10:33pm :

thealexweb said,
Rather use OpenOffice than this, only two programs, Word and Excel and they have adverts.

I've used Office Starter. Ads ain't intrusive.

And Office Starter doesn't look like crap and they display documents correctly, and save them correctly without destroying formatting.

Did I mention that OpenOffice is crap?

GP007 said,

Ads aside where does it say that the copies of Word and Excel 2010 are aren't the full versions you get in one of the other retail copies? I think you're jumping to conclusions on this one.

Microsoft Office Starter 2010 comes with an ad-based version of Word and Excel, with limited functionality

It says right there.

Ricardo Dawkins said,

You can do more than starter but the functionality and usability is broken. I use Open Office every day at work. There is a great amount of issues and bugs with Calc and Writer.
I have tried OpenOffice latest versions and it has changed a lot but a friend of mine which uses it everyday at work was told me the same thing a few days ago: there are many bugs and problems that you will discover when using it everyday...

Udedenkz said,

Generally speaking,
Some of us take math notes, use charts, arrows and other features that are either hidden or unsupported by OO...

Yeah, I tried OpenOffice with version 2 and then again with version 3. I wasn't really impressed... It was a bit buggy, not particularly user friendly, and didn't offer a lot of the features that I do use in Word on a regular basis... To me there's just no comparison...

From what I saw in the beta, the ads aren't intrusive but the apps are crippled somewhat but hey they're free. Sadly, Office Starter is a bribe for selling Windows 7 sales so only those users get free Word and Excel.

GP007 said,

Ads aside where does it say that the copies of Word and Excel 2010 are aren't the full versions you get in one of the other retail copies? I think you're jumping to conclusions on this one.

http://oem.microsoft.com/scrip...tentpage.aspx?pageid=566006

Office Starter 2010 lacks the more advanced features such as track changes, compare and combine documents, commenting, and other reviewing features in Word. PivotTable and external data source features are also missing in Excel. As well, users are unable to customize the quick access toolbar (and presumably the Ribbon) as well as use SmartArt. Documents are opened with 100% fidelity, however, meaning that it will appear 100% the same, whether you are using Office Starter 2010 or the full version of Office 2010, or even Office Web Apps.

Edited by JaykeBird, May 25 2010, 3:48am : Removing unnecessary stuff...