Microsoft is considering introducing a subscription-based business model for its Office suite of applications in the US, the Wall Street Journal reports. The firm said it was launching a beta testing program, “Albany,” and expected to make the subscription generally available by the end of 2008. Microsoft’s Office is facing some competition from Google and Yahoo, who offer free web software that performs similar functions.
"Consumers...expressed frustration at having to spend time and effort installing different types of software, keeping current on new versions and getting their computers set up," the Albany project manager wrote on Microsoft’s website. "We found from our research that when you bring these categories together and keep them automatically updated, a subscription model makes a lot of sense."