Microsoft Pulls Plug On OfficeLite

Microsoft has quietly nixed plans for OfficeLite, a subscription-based version of its Office productivity suite designed for the consumer and education markets, according to company documents examined by CRN. In a March 3 memo to staff involved in the initiative, Cameron Turner, a Microsoft product manager, said the "OfficeLite effort has been shelved for the [Office] 11 time frame." OfficeLite originally was slated to ship with MSN 9, but that plan also has been "tabled," according to the memo. Turner also said in the memo that the project had taught Microsoft "several important things about creating non-perpetual versions of Office [and] working with MSN."

Turner couldn't be reached for comment. A representative from Microsoft's public relations firm said she could not comment on "rumors."

However, in another memo on the matter last week, Joe Eschbach, corporate vice president of Microsoft's Information Worker Product Management Group, said the OfficeLite effort was shelved primarily because the company decided to "more aggressively utilize the Students and Teachers Edition [of Office] as the consumer socket filler. This includes broad-based trial efforts for S&T for education institutions," Eschbach explained in the memo. "Once this decision was made, it became difficult to identify the unique target customer and price point that would make for a long-term sustainable business for OfficeLite."

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