As Microsoft tests its "Albany" project (essentially ad-funded Microsoft Works), Ed Tech has another choice available in terms of free productivity software. However, since this version of Works isn't a cloud application like Google Apps or a full-blown, highly usable suite like OpenOffice, it leaves one to wonder, "Why?"
As an educator, I'd certainly prefer to avoid ads for the kids as well. Google excludes ads from its Google Apps educational package and as open source software, OpenOffice obviously doesn't need ads. I just can't see where Works adds any value here.
Perhaps it would provide schools with easy compatibility with Works installed by default on most students' home computers, but this is hardly a reason to adopt a sub-par, ad-funded piece of software.
When is Microsoft going to get a clue about free software? I actually understand charging customers for Office. I think the price is too high in a market with robust, readily-available free software, but if you've used Office 2007, then the idea of paying for it isn't too crazy. However, Works, especially when ad-supported, just doesn't make any sense, especially here in Ed Tech.