Microsoft, continuing its fine tradition of making major announcements at the end of the day, has begun selling its "all-in-one security and productivity software subscription service for home computer users" in the UK.
Microsoft Equipt (now there's a websearch fail in the making, if I ever saw one) provides users, for £60 a year, with a combination of the OneCare security package and Microsoft Office Home and Student 2007. For some reason, Redmond sees fit to include Windows Live stuff in the deal, even though it's already free. Never mind.
Usefully, upgrades to OneKer and Office come at no extra cost to subscribers. Yes folks, after testing out the idea of Office on a subscription basis, MS has bitten the bullet and done it for real. Oh, and the licence covers up to 3 PCs.
Of course, many free alternatives to both OneCare and Office are in existence. Personally I use AVG for the antivirus and OpenOffice for the office stuff - and with the latter looking like an ever-more-credible alternative to Office 2007, it's not hard to see why MS has decided to provide more budget-friendly options for its own productivity suite.
And here's an interesting question - the service costs $70 in the US, which is about £40. Why do we pay 50 percent more than US customers? Anyway, available at PC World now...