microsoft works 9
Microsoft Works 9 without ads

Many of us look down at Microsoft Works, and for good reason. It’s a stripped down office suite that doesn’t hold a candle to Microsoft Office or any of the open source/freeware alternatives. It costs PC manufacturers next to nothing to bundle Microsoft Works with new computers, and that’s often why it is included.

Unfortunately I don’t think it is going away anytime soon. As expected Microsoft has begun offering an ad-supported version called Works SE 9.0, where SE stands for Sponsored Edition. They believe that they can make more money by providing an ad-supported version than they currently receive directly from the manufacturers, and the manufacturers are therefore not charged a dime for distributing it.

Microsoft is currently running this program in five countries: The United States, France, Canada, Poland, and the United Kingdom. You can’t download Works SE 9.0 as a standalone program, but if you look close enough you might start to see which manufacturers have jumped on board. Even Sony’s $3,200 Laptop includes the ad-sponsored version:

Microsoft Works SE 9.0 w/ 60-Day Trial Version of Microsoft Office Home and Student 2007

It will be interesting to see how this pans out for Microsoft. If they make enough money from it then we might see more of their products following a similar route in the future.

[via CNet]