updated 04:00 pm EDT, Wed July 2, 2008
Microsoft today has announced it would launch Equipt, a new software package that will let it experiment with subscription services. The suite gives users both a copy of Office Home and Student 2007 as well as the company's OneCare anti-malware and backup service; in exchange for an immediate discount on both services, customers will pay $70 per year to keep the full service active. Office is believed to remain active regardless of when the subscription ends.
The feature also gives licenses for both Office and OneCare to three PCs and is ideal for multi-computer homes that want to stay current with both programs on more than one machine, according to Microsoft.
Equipt should be available from mid-July and will be available at first only through Circuit City stores in the US.
The package reflects one of Microsoft's first attempts to offer software in a subscription format to home users. While software-as-a-service (SaaS) is increasingly common among software developers writing for the workplace, few programs outside of security tools have gained acceptance through subscription plans.
The strategy also potentially helps OneCare, which has continued to struggle versus established security suites from McAfee, Norton, and similar manufacturers that are in many cases bundled in trial or one-year subscriptions with many PCs.