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Microsoft launches Office + OneCare subscription package

by Scott Bicheno on 2 July 2008, 16:53

Tags: Microsoft (NASDAQ:MSFT)

Quick Link: HEXUS.net/qan3b

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One step closer to SaaS

The private beta programme for a service known only by its codename – Albany – was started by Microsoft on 18th April and concluded today with the official launch of Microsoft Equipt, a productivity and security software subscription service.

Equipt is initially only available in the US and exclusively through Circuit City, starting the middle of this month. It is expected to cost around $70 per year with each subscription usable on three PCs. Its key components are Office and OneCare, but there are a few others, many of which are already available for free.

Bryson Gordon, group product manager for Office, said: “With Microsoft Equipt we’re improving our customers’ computing experience by giving them essential software in a package that offers an easy install and setup experience, as well as a convenient and affordable way to stay updated with the latest versions of Office and Windows Live OneCare.”

This looks like the latest step in Microsoft’s attempt to move from a software licensing to a software as a service (SaaS) model and is another initiative that has been made urgent by competition from Google.

Circuit City

It’s been a busy day for Circuit City, with the Equipt launch coinciding with the news that Blockbuster has decided not to bother with trying to take it over.

"Based on market conditions and the completion of our initial due diligence process, we have determined that it is not in the best interest of Blockbuster's shareholders to proceed with an acquisition of Circuit City," said Jim Keyes, Blockbuster chairman and CEO.

Philip J. Schoonover, who is not just chairman and CEO of Circuit City but president too said: “Our exploration of strategic alternatives is intended to serve the interests of our shareholders by considering every possible alternative to enhance shareholder value. The board's review was not dependent on Blockbuster's participation. We are diligently working with the parties involved in the process, and intend to continue our thorough approach until such point as the board determines upon a particular strategic course of action. The board has not established a deadline for completing the review.”

This quick reminder to Circuit City shareholders that he’s on the case was perhaps spurred on by the possibility of the ubiquitous Carl Icahn buying up the company himself and running it his way.

Press release: Microsoft Launches Consumer Subscription Offering That Combines Microsoft Office and Windows Live OneCare

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