It seems Microsoft’s not quite sure whether they do truly wish to give away Microsoft Works 9.0 for free or not. First reports suggested that Satya Nadella, Corporate Vice President of Microsoft’s Search & Advertising Platform Group, told Mary Jo Foley that an ad-supported version of Microsoft’s stripped down version of Office would be available soon.
Nadella added that Works will be just “the first of the ad-funded software we are going to do.” When I asked for other examples of products might decide to make free and ad-funded, he mentioned Office Accounting Express – a product which is currently available as both a free download and as a component of certain Office Live paid subscriptions. He also said software downloads/shareware was another category ripe with products that could be free and ad-funded.
Unfortunately, we can’t find any details of the new version and even ZDNet can’t get Microsoft to clarify their own VP’s comments.
The official comment, via a Microsoft spokeswoman: “We’re always looking at innovative ways to provide the best productivity tools to our customers, but have nothing to announce at this time.”
So, I guess we can assume that it’s coming but that Nadella maybe jumped the gun with the announcement. Still, it’s going to make for an interesting battle with Google’s own Docs and Spreadsheets. Both are free, but one is a web based solution while the other is a software platform. Will Google still grow its audience or, with all things being free, will users prefer to have software on their own computer?
What do you think?