Microsoft Weighs Subscription Model for Office
Firm's core apps face Google competition
By Nick McMaster,  Newser Staff
Posted Apr 18, 2008 3:10 PM CDT
Ray Ozzie, Microsoft's chief software architect, speaks at the 2008 MVP Global Summit event in Seattle on Thursday, April 17, 2008.    (AP Photo/Kevin P. Casey)
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(Newser) – 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."