Download Squad summarily writes off Microsoft Works:
It’s always been sort of an ironic name for a product, because it just barely works.
I strongly disagree – at least with the “always” part. In the late 80’s Works was my main productivity suite: I was happily crunching numbers, generating charts, including them as well as data from my database in word-processing documents. In other words, I had a perfectly working and lightweight integrated office suite at the time when Word, Excel and Powerpoint were part of a suite only in name, but moving data between them was a major pain. It had to be lightweight: my laptop had 640K memory (that’s K, not MB!) and two 720k floppy drives – no hard-disk at all. Yet it was happily churning away with Works.
Once again, Microsoft had a perfectly working integrated suite 20 years ago, they just decided to downplay it favoring the higher margin, high-end but fragmented products, which took years to become a true Office Suite. As a result, by today Download Squad may be right:
Sure, if all you need is a basic spreadsheet, calendar, or word processor, MS Works will do. But since it can’t handle most MS Office documents, Works is barely worth the $50 you’d have to pay if you actually went out and bought a copy.
I doubt a lot of users shelled out $50, since Works has long been the default product OEM’s installed on (low-end) PC’s – but soon it may be entirely free, reports ZDNet:
“If ad revenues exceed 67 cents per year, we could actually give Works away and still make more money,” two Microsoft researchers and one person from MSN stated in a paper presented to Chairman Bill Gates at a Thinkweek brainstorming session earlier this year.”
“This year” in the above quote refers to 2005. It only took Microsoft to make up their minds two years
I don’t think they are comparable: Works is still just a client-based, personal productivity tool. If you’re looking to get off the desktop, use web-based, anywhere-accessible, sharable, collaborative products – Works just does not cut it. Update: apparently BBC News thinks so, too.
But the ad-supported Works can’t be entirely client-based: MS will have to pipe in those ads somehow. And once you’re connected, they can start serving up more than just ads – could this become a “Software plus Service” offering one day?
Although Software plus Service is a new buzzword, Microsoft has been doing it with years – more about that in the next post.
More on the subject: TechCrunch, Andy Beal’s Marketing Pilgrim, Compiler, PC World: Techlog, One Microsoft Way , IP Telephony, VoIP, Broadband, Profy, Lifehack, Phil Wainewright, All about Microsoft, Read/WriteWeb,