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By | Kelly Fiveash 2nd July 2008 15:56

Microsoft targets online Office bundle at US cheapskates

Software for Hard Times

Microsoft has tied up with ailing US retailer Circuit City to launch its Office and security subscription service which hits the market bearing the moniker "Equipt".

The software giant said that it has handed Circuit City the new product line, with plans for the retail chain to start punting Equipt from mid-July. It will carry a $69.99 price tag for a one year renewable subscription.

The Equipt package, which is aimed at the consumer rather than business market, includes Office Live and OneCare – Microsoft's bundle of security and anti-virus products.

The deal is not exclusive, so other retailers can be expected to clamber on board if the idea takes off - and if they can put up with the fact that Microsoft will also be flogging the package from its own website.

Microsoft has been beta testing the subscription service, which includes Office Home and Student 2007, Messenger, Live Mail and Photo Gallery, as well as security bundle OneCare, since April this year.

Customers also get Office Live Workspace, an online storage and collaboration space. However, users of that service can only create or edit online documents if they have Office software already installed on their machines.

The Equipt subscription is good for three PCs and will provide automatic updates to subscribers. The benefit for consumers is they will no longer have to go through the hassle of upgrading, while Microsoft obviously gets a regular revenue stream not dependent on hardware sales.®

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