Microsoft expands Office 'pay-as-you-go' rental program

Microsoft expands Office 'pay-as-you-go' rental program

Summary: Microsoft is expanding its Office 20007 "pay-as-you-go" program into five more countries before the end of the year. Under the plan, users will have the option of "renting" Office 2007 Professional for a three or six month period and paying a monthly subscription fee to do so.


Microsoft is extending its Office "rental" program to five more markets before the end of 2007.

Microsoft expands Office ‘pay-as-you-go’ rental programMicrosoft will begin offering the 2007 Microsoft Office Prepaid Edition in India, Indonesia, Bulgaria, Lithuania and Egypt before the end of calendar 2007, company officials said on November 14. Microsoft already offers Office 2007 on a "pay-as-you-go" basis in South Africa and Romania.

Via the pay-as-you-go program, users can choose three- or six-month subscriptions to Office Professional 2007 and pay a monthly fee to use the product. Users may renew the subscriptions at any time. If they don't renew, Office goes into reduced functionality mode, which allows users to continue to view and print files. Users cannot create or save new files or modify existing ones in this mode.

Microsoft began testing Office under pay-as-you-go scheme in late 2006, starting with Office 2003, in South Africa, Mexico and Romania. In 2007, Microsoft cut Mexico from the list of participating countries and began offering Office 2007, rather than the older Office 2003, product via the Prepaid Edition  subscription program.

Topics: Collaboration, Microsoft, Software


Mary Jo has covered the tech industry for 30 years for a variety of publications and Web sites, and is a frequent guest on radio, TV and podcasts, speaking about all things Microsoft-related. She is the author of Microsoft 2.0: How Microsoft plans to stay relevant in the post-Gates era (John Wiley & Sons, 2008).

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  • This is really out there

    I really need someone to explain to me why anyone should, quite litteraly, pay repeatedly for software. After it expires, it just takes up space on your machine and works in "reduced functionality mode".....WHAT?

    They talk about updates...I saw no mention of it updating to the next edition when one is released. Is there a real point to this product?
    • You know, I used to think the same way. But...

      It's a reserved 'but', but I am more interested in this than I was in the past. Why?

      $400 operating systems. $600 Office packages. Need I say more?

      And after the initial purchase hit, you are looking at spending 50% of that for each upgrade when they happen.

      It is NOT cheap being a Microsoft customer.

      If I could 'rent' the biggest, baddest version of Windows for $99 a year, and the biggest, baddest version of Office for $99 a year, I honestly believe I would go for that.

      Even better, if (in a home environment) I could add licenses for additional machines at, say, 30% less each, that would be good too.

      It all depends on the prices. I do not get my software for free. I do not get it from my company. I PAY for everything I have.

      A program like this, IF the prices were good enough to entice me, may just make it.

      I never thought I'd 'rent' music either, then I found the joy of having millions of tracks at my fingertips for $10 a month.

      I really, REALLY enjoyed the hell out of Urge for $10 a month. It's a shame that Rhapsody bought them and destroyed that whole program :( I currently do not subscribe to any because none of them are as good as Urge was (with it's full WMP11 integration).
      • I still find it unreasonable

        Understanding that products cost money, I can live with that. I have a enough of a problem with WGA but the advantage in savings (in my mind) doesn't warrant relinquishing that much more control over my machine. I don't like the online apps/storage subscriptions either in today's environment (different issue, I know).

        I'm old-fashioned enough to believe that if I pay for a product that it's mine (within the confines of a contract). Rentals/leases as a way to extract profits bug me. MAYBE I could see it for an enterprise, but I know a lot of users who whine when their AV subscription is up for renewal.

        This is one more concept I'd like to see go by the wayside....don't get me wrong though, if Sun, Red Hat or Suse pulled a stunt like this I'd really be bitter. My ultimate point is that the conventional licensing model has the potential to be taken to extremes and this just may be (hopefully) as ridiculous as it gets.
        • It is a pity that MS forces everyone to subscribe

          Oh wait, they don't.

          Your whining about this [b]option[/b] is about as relevant as you whining that Blockbusters rents movies. The fact that movie rental places exist as an option to those who don't want to buy in no way diminishes my choice to buy movies, should I so desire. If you feel the rental model isn't the right model for you, don't use it! Wow, talk about a crazy concept!!

          [i]if Sun, Red Hat or Suse pulled a stunt like this I'd really be bitter[/i]

          You'd be bitter if Red Hat offered you a subscription service? Really? Prepare to be bitter:
          [url=] Purchasing Red Hat Enterprise Linux [/url]
          [i]Red Hat Enterprise Linux is offered on a fully-inclusive, per-system, [b]annual subscription basis[/b].[/i] (emphasis added)
          • I probably wouldn't use this

            I wouldn't use. Then again I buy my movies as well. Seems if I can rent a movie for $5 I can buy it for $5 to $25 depending on the title and when you buy it. Seems like a better deal to me. Now I wonder what the pricing is for Office rentals. Maybe it's cheaper to rent it than to buy it. Like if I pay $25 a year to have office and I use for for 5 years it's worth it. If it's $50 per year and I use it for 5 year then it's not so worth it.

            Then again Open Office is free so there is always that too...
          • It still depends

            [i]If it's $50 per year and I use it for 5 year then it's not so worth it.[/i]

            It all depends on cash flow vs reserves. If Office is $200 and your cash reserves are <$200 and your cash flow is >$50/year, it would make sense. You can get the benefit of Office [b]now[/b] even though you couldn't afford to buy it outright.

            I strongly suspect that the above only comes into consideration for small businesses. Large businesses get enterprise licenses and don't roll out every new version of a product. Small businesses might find it difficult to justify buying 10 copies of Office at $2,000 but won't have any trouble handling a $500/year subscription.

            [i]Then again Open Office is free so there is always that too...[/i]

            There is that! MS Office is good when it is used as a part of a larger Windows infrastructure (Sharepoint, Exchange, etc.) but I'd find it hard to justify MS Office to an individual or even to a small business.

            I'm even going further downscale and trying out Google Docs. While I would have a hard time seeing anyone who was doing any serious Word processing/presentation/spreadsheet work using Google Docs, I think most individuals would find it more than adequate. Combine that with the fact that everything is automatically backed up for you and available no matter where you are, I think it could be the answer for many individuals out there. The jury is still out on that one though since I've only been using it a short while.
        • So, I suppose all of the SaaS models...

          ... are doomed in your mind? Google Docs, etc. for $50 per seat per year (don't quote me on pricing - couldn't put my finger on the article where the annual subscription cost was mentioned) or Star Office rentals, or the Novell Desktop rentals, etc. seem to be the new cinderella for IT and here you go dissing it...

          Tsk, tsk...
          Confused by religion
        • A lot like computer leasing?

          The conventional PC purchasing (licensing) model has the potential to be taken to extremes, and it has worked well.

          What is wrong with "leasing" your software so that at the end of it's current life cycle, you receive (and continue to use) the next version of the software? It does keep you current

          The alternative is to re-purchase the newer versions (if you wish to use the latest features, added over time as the landscape evolves) over the years, or be stuck with out of date software that can not take advantage of the newest technologies.
  • RE: Microsoft expands Office 'pay-as-you-go' rental program

    Hi Mary, First time talking, but any news about pricing?

    Thank you
  • any numbers?

    Hey! If would be interesting to know any numbers on how many subscribers using this program in south africa and also the monthly subscription fee details in India etc..