Microsoft Office Subscription Service to Launch

Remember Albany, the beta version of Microsoft's subscription-based version of Office and Windows Live OneCare that launched in mid-April? Well, Albany is now Equipt, but you won't find it in the state of New York: for now, starting in mid-July, you'll find it only at Circuit City. In a press release on Wednesday, Microsoft announced the launch:
Initially code-named “Albany,” Microsoft Equipt offers consumers Microsoft Office Home and Student 2007, giving them the latest versions of Word, Excel, PowerPoint and OneNote for their personal and school projects; Windows Live OneCare, the all-in-one security and PC management service; Windows Live tools, such as Windows Live Mail, Windows Live Messenger and Windows Live Photo Gallery so they can connect and share with people they care about most; and Office Live Workspace, a new service from Microsoft that makes it easy to save documents to a dedicated online Workspace and share them with friends and classmates.

Anytime a new version of Office or Windows Live OneCare is released, Microsoft Equipt customers will get the version upgrades as part of their subscriptions. Microsoft Equipt is $69.99 (U.S.) estimated retail price for a one-year renewable subscription. Each subscription will be good for three home PCs, making Microsoft Equipt ideal for families and individuals with one or several computers.

Microsoft Equipt will be sold in nearly 700 Circuit City stores in the U.S. starting mid-July 2008.
The idea behind this bundle is that it's been noted that consumers seem quite willing to pay for a subscription for security products such as Live OneCare. By linking OneCare into the offering, it's hoped it will appeal to those end users. Of course, why anyone would want OneCare still escapes us; however, the price for Office Home and Student 2007 + OneCare is actually pretty attractive. The price is actually only $20 more than OneCare's standalone price.

The deal is non-exclusive and will expand to other retailers and online later.