Microsoft phasing out free Office 2010 Starter

For the past few years Microsoft has been offering a free, ad-supported version of Office 2010 to customers that buy new Windows computers. It doesn’t have all the features you get with the full version of Office, and only includes Word and Excel, but that may have been enough for many users.

Now Microsoft is getting ready to discontinue Office 2010 Starter. By the time Windows 8 is released, most computers that would have included the software will instead ship with links to download trial versions of Office. Microsoft will also continue to offer its free Office web apps.

Microsoft Office 2010 Starter


Over the past few years Microsoft has seen increasing competition in the office space. and LibreOffice give Windows, Mac, and Linux users the ability to create, edit, and view text, spreadsheet, and presentation documents for free. Google Docs, Zoho, and other web-based services offer many of the same features, requiring only a web browser and an internet connection.

But Microsoft still dominates the office space, and I wouldn’t be surprised if the company found itself losing some revenue by giving away software that it once charged for.

At $99, Microsoft Home and Student is fairly reasonably priced for those that aren’t happy with free alternatives (although I suspect many of the folks that just use Office because it’s preloaded on their computers may not be aware that there are free alternatives). But if you need Outlook, Access, or Publisher, those apps don’t come in the $99 package and you currently have to spend $250 to $500 for a premium version of Microsoft Office.

Microsoft is working on Office 2013, as well as a new version of Office designed for Windows RT, and we could see a different pricing structure once those new apps are available.

via PC Pro and ZDNet


  • MHazell

    This is bad for Microsoft. I would much rather people try to use LibreOffice (based of of OpenOffice, but has better bug fixes and such), then get MS Office if it does not suite their needs. Most of the time, though, LibreOffice is more than fine for most people. I’d hate to see people pay for Office software that they could have gotten elsewhere, and still supported everything that they wanted to do.

  • d1zy

    MS was always about 2 things: big corporate clients and the IT infrastructure that serve them. spyware –Microsoft’s old source of joe-public-demographics and market anaysis– has long been usurped by webtrends and ecommerce. therefore, MS focus has shifted from the OS and office suite to online services. They don’t care if you use softmaker office or, disable automatic updates.

  • Yobobjm

    That is rather disappointing, as even though I don’t do word processing on some of my computers, it was always nice to have something that could actually open word documents. Guess I’ll have to buy a full version.

    • Mike Walker

      MS provides a set of free downloadable office viewing apps like “Word Viewer.” No need to buy full versions of Word unless you need to edit.

      • Yobobjm

        Oh, I didn’t know that. That takes care of that.