So, Microsoft has announced that ad-supported copies of the Works suite will be made available within the next few months. While I'm no fan of having applications stuffed full of ads running on my PC, this could be a hit.
So, why do I think that an ad-supported version of Works could be a big hit when there's already plenty of free word processing and spreadsheet packages available (Open Office, Zoho, Google Docs, etc)? Two reasons. First off, Microsoft be pushing for OEMs to bundle this application onto new PCs (especially those aimed at the lower end of the consumer market), and that's likely to give it a lot of traction. Second reason is that Works is a commercial package worth about $39, so people will see getting a free version as getting something for nothing. Never underestimate people's desire to get something for nothing.
One thing I'm interested in finding out is how this product will be supported - my guess is that customers will get what they pay for and have access to very limited help if things go wrong.
Overall, while I'm pretty sure that the ad-supported Works suite will be useful to some home users, especially if new systems come bundled with it, I'm also confident that the hype will evaporate pretty quickly.