Of course, the idea is that people will use the Starter version for a little while but inevitably upgrade to the full version of Office 2010. Now, as if reduced functionality weren't enough of an incentive to upgrade, Microsoft has said in its blog that the Starter edition will be ad-supported.
It all starts off fairly innocently with a blog post detailing new ways to try and buy Office 2010. Microsoft talks about the number of users, growth and all that business before moving on to "big improvements in the way we’ll deliver the next version of Office to consumers."
As part of Office 2010 software that will be pre-loaded by the PC manufacturers on their PCs, we’re introducing Microsoft Office Starter 2010. Office Starter 2010 is a reduced-functionality, advertising-supported version of Office 2010, available exclusively on new PCs. Office Starter 2010 will provide new PC owners with immediate exposure to the Office 2010 experience on new PCs right out of the box.Office Starter 2010 will include Office Word Starter 2010 and Office Excel Starter 2010, with the basic functionality for creating, viewing and editing documents. Office Starter 2010 will replace Microsoft Works, offering a consistent Office user experience, such as the Ribbon, with a simple path to upgrade to a fully-featured version of Office 2010 directly from within the product.
Hands up who's totally stoked about ads inside Office? That's what I thought.
Check the full blog post here.