Microsoft will phase out its Microsoft Works software, instead the company plans to start offering OEMs the free Office Starter 2010. This will be an ad-supported version of Office that features stripped versions of Word and Excel. Users will also have the option to upgrade to the full version of Office 2010 with the purchase of a single-license card. Office 2010 Starter is expected to be available in the first half of 2010.
Microsoft says that Office 2010, the next version of its productivity suite, will come pre-installed on PCs produced by major manufacturers.
There’s just one catch: you won’t be able to use the software right out of the box, at least not the full version. Instead, users purchasing these computers will initially have access to Office Starter 2010, which contains free and stripped-down versions of Word and Excel. Documents in Word Starter and Excel Starter can be created, viewed, and saved—but if a user wants the full Office 2010, they will need to purchase a single-use license on a plastic card from a retailer such as Best Buy, input the code, and unlock the fully functional version of the software platform, which includes PowerPoint and OneNote.