Probably not. But it's not a bad thing Microsoft have done, and it really shows that they're committed to this "student malarkey" we have going. Today, they announced that project "Albany", now called Microsoft Equipt, has been released into the wild, for the masses who want an all-round suite of products to buy.
From Wednesday, Circuit City will be offering the suite of products, listed below, in their shops online and otherwise. The idea behind the project was to provide an all-round package of software for those who have just bought new machines. Considering a new academic year is just around the corner, new students ("freshers") will be bundling their things together with their new laptops, ready to start, and not have anything installed on them to get anything done.
For a cent under $70 (roughly £35), this is an excellent deal considering Office 2007 alone can cost into the hundreds of dollars, and OneCare is only $20 cheaper than Equipt is anyway. Could this be what makes Office 2007 the prize star of 2008? In the "box" comes a yearly subscription offering, from the fact sheet:
- Windows Live OneCare All-in-one security and performance includes antivirus, antispyware, firewall, file and photo backup, performance tune-ups, and home network management to help keep your PC running at its peak.
- Microsoft Office Home and Student 2007 Word 2007: Create great-looking documents with ease. Excel 2007: Intuitive spreadsheet tools let you create budgets and more. PowerPoint 2007: Design stunning presentations for family, school or volunteer activities. OneNote 2007: Organize different kinds of information — text, images, audio and video, Web clippings, and more — in one digital notebook.
- Microsoft Office Live Workspace This new service from Office makes it easy for you to save documents to a dedicated online Workspace and share these with friends and classmates.
- Windows Live tools Windows Live Mail. Get all your e-mail in one place. Windows Live Messenger. Send instant messages to your friends or have a video chat. Windows Live Photo Gallery. Organize and share photos. And more, including Windows Live Writer and Windows Live Toolbar.
- Automatic updates and upgrades. Office Home and Student version upgrades plus automatic security updates and OneCare upgrades.
Reading through CNET, they made quite a good point:
I was curious just how Microsoft accounts for the revenue it expects to get from Equipt--i.e., how much gets counted toward Office and how much toward OneCare. Gordon wouldn't say, other than to indicate it would be wrong to think that the Office unit only gets the $20 difference between Equipt and OneCare.
[Bryson Gordon, GPM of Equipt] said the company's research indicates that those who opt for Equipt will be people who would not otherwise buy Office, but added "we are going to keep a very close watch on cannibalization metrics.
Who cares? Anti-virus and office suite: OneCare and Office 2007 for $70? That's a bargain, an absolute bargain. LiveSide, as ever, has more on Equipt as well as their inquisitive quest into finding what "Albany" was in the first place.
Update: Ahhhhh, you see! They even got me, the sneaky buggers. It's $70 subscription every year. Doesn't seem like a great deal now does it? Microsoft, more evil than an al-Qaeda suggestion box.