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Microsoft Phasing Out Starter Edition of Office

By - Source: ZDNet | B 35 comments

Say goodbye to the Starter edition of Microsoft Office.

This week, Microsoft reportedly notified OEM PC partners that it's beginning to phase out Office Starter 2010. In fact, the Starter edition -- which offers a stripped-down, ad-laced version of Word and Excel -- will be nuked altogether, replaced by Office Web Apps going forward. These apps are the Internet-based versions of Word, Excel, PowerPoint and OneNote originally announced back in 2008.

"We will begin to phase out the shipment of PCs with Office Starter 2010," a Microsoft spokesperson confirmed. "After Windows 8 becomes available, most new PCs shipped will not have Office Starter. People who use Office Starter 2010 today will continue to be able to use the product for the life of their PC. For Windows7/Office Starter 2010 users who want to upgrade their PC to Windows 8 and continue using Office Starter 2010, they will have to install an update to Microsoft Office 2010 which is available today."

Up until now, OEM desktops and laptops typically came with Office 2010 preloaded: consumers have access to the Starter "demo" edition while the installation files for the full-blown version resides on a special partition. Microsoft was hoping that users would grow tired of the limitations and purchase a key for the full suite, but that scheme didn't pan out as hoped -- free tools made available online by the likes of Google and OpenOffice certainly didn't help.

Microsoft made Office Starter 2010 available to OEMs and system builders as part of an OEM Preinstallation Kit (OPK). However this week Microsoft has introduced a new "Office 2010 Transition OPK" that doesn't contain Office Starter 2010.

"Effective immediately, the Office 2010 Transition OPK replaces prior versions of the Office 2010 OPK," Microsoft states. "The website for OEMs to order Starter licenses is now disabled, and all of the links from the Office OPK pages have been pulled.  The 'Transition OPK' is now the only download available,” said one of my contacts, who requested anonymity."

According to unnamed sources, Microsoft is beefing up Office Web Apps "significantly" with the release of Office 2013 (aka Office 15). Little else is known about the online suite although the latest rumor is that there will also be a new Office Web Apps Server coming as part of the Office 2013 release.

A public beta of Office 2013 -- the client apps, the server apps and the services -- is expected to land sometime in the next few weeks.

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  • 6 Hide
    jdwii , June 22, 2012 8:38 PM
    Office needs to come with windows Professional/Enterprise/Ultimate free of cost, I'm sick of seeing people pay more for this software then they do for their OS upgrade.
  • 2 Hide
    srap , June 22, 2012 8:49 PM
    "Microsoft was hoping that users would grow tired of the limitations and purchase a key for the full suite"

    case 1: people do not use Office at all.
    case 2: others use so few of the features, the do not run into the limits.
    case 3: some uninstall it completely, and switch to a free suite, LO for example.
    case 4: some uninstall it, to use a former Office, like 2007 or 2003.
    Running through all the cases, few will will remain in the end, who actually buy it.
  • 2 Hide
    internetlad , June 22, 2012 9:02 PM
    "will be nuked altogether"

    "Kevin Parrish wrote this article, Didn't he?"

    *Looks at author*

  • Display all 35 comments.
  • 8 Hide
    aqualipt , June 22, 2012 9:06 PM
    jdwiiOffice needs to come with windows Professional/Enterprise/Ultimate free of cost, I'm sick of seeing people pay more for this software then they do for their OS upgrade.

    i totally agree with you, and they should reduce the cost of this software for non Professional/Enterprise/Ultimate users
  • -5 Hide
    aqualipt , June 22, 2012 9:07 PM
    well whatever i always "download" my software :D 
  • 3 Hide
    math1337 , June 22, 2012 9:09 PM
    Hopefully office web apps will actually be useable for creating documents now. With the lack of custom Powerpoint textboxes and WYSIWYG word editing, the current office web apps are only good for viewing documents.
  • -1 Hide
    DarkenMoon97 , June 22, 2012 9:26 PM
    If you are affected by this, just use Open Office. Problem Solved.
  • 5 Hide
    Shin-san , June 22, 2012 10:04 PM
    I have it on my laptop and for quick Word edits, the starter edition was quite handy.
  • -3 Hide
    Zingam_Duo , June 22, 2012 10:37 PM
    Wow, dude! You've got it all wrong. The word processor is not an essential program. Yeah, it costs alot but you could use an alternative.
    What is really overpriced is Windows... c'mon! $200-300-500 for crappy Windows! Now that's superoverpriced. And OS shouldn't cost more than $50 for a full version. And even if MS sells every copy of Windows for just $50 they are still going to make billions.
    And maybe it will be much better OS if it costs less because they'll stop wasting money to fill it up with bloat.
  • 6 Hide
    SteelCity1981 , June 22, 2012 11:01 PM
    i'm still using office 2003 professional edition and it does everything i need it to do.
  • 6 Hide
    zoemayne , June 22, 2012 11:24 PM
    its pointless for starter to exist when there's openoffice
  • 7 Hide
    DRosencraft , June 22, 2012 11:45 PM
    I still use Office 207. Got it for about $5 from my university few years back. Prefer my program to be available offline, and don't save stuff in the cloud, so not terribly interested in any web-based option. I might upgrade to Office 2010 in the future, but Office isn't necessarily something you'll get a lot of benefit from upgrading as regularly as your OS.
  • 0 Hide
    notlim981 , June 22, 2012 11:53 PM
    ^^101% what DRosencraft said. I won a free online upgrade to 2010 by the time I bought the 2007 but I didn't even bother, 2007 does pretty much everything I need and I use Office more at work.
  • 0 Hide
    vittau , June 23, 2012 12:17 AM
    Good riddance.
  • 0 Hide
    kracker , June 23, 2012 12:30 AM
  • 0 Hide
    ravewulf , June 23, 2012 12:35 AM
    If they want to sell more they could try lowering prices. $150 for the Home and Student version is a bit excessive. Try cutting the price in half ($75)
  • -1 Hide
    dameon51 , June 23, 2012 1:01 AM
    I use Open Office now since I just do simple typing and spread sheets, but when I was a system admin, Open Office simply didn't cut it, needed the full blown MS Office for myself and our users.
  • -1 Hide
    redyellowblueblast , June 23, 2012 1:22 AM
    Google phased out Microsoft Office with Google Docs.
  • 0 Hide
    livebriand , June 23, 2012 2:38 AM
    Stupid... I'd like it if they offered Office Home and Student free with the home versions of Windows, and Home and Business with the pro versions (with an anytime upgrade sort of program for it). Of course, that'll never happen...
  • 1 Hide
    antilycus , June 23, 2012 3:11 AM

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