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By | Kelly Fiveash 27th January 2009 12:54

Microsoft's Equipt kill date remains MIA amid retail carnage

Disorderly retreat plan

Microsoft has yet to administer the coup de grace to its Equipt subscription software package two months after it confirmed it would dump the service.

Redmond ditched its Office and security subscription service in November just a few months after the firm started flogging it through the now bankrupt US retail giant Circuit City.

But two months on, the product's web page is alive and well on Microsoft.com, there are still copies of the software lingering on in the channel and the vendor has yet to pull the plug on (any remaining) diehard subscribers.

The Equipt package, which had been intended for the consumer rather than biz market, came bundled with Office Live and OneCare – Microsoft’s collection of security and anti-virus products.

In July Microsoft announced that it had tied up a deal with the then ailing Circuit City to sell the service for $69.99 a pop for a one-year renewable subscription in over 700 of its stores.

Just last week Circuit City looked set to have its assets fully liquidated after the company failed to find a buyer in time.

Blighty only saw the service debut in DSGi’s PC World stores in October last year, combining Microsoft Office Home and Student 2007, Live OneCare and Windows Live tools. It was being sold for £59.99 for a one-year renewable sub.

But come November MS abandoned its attempt to make money from selling anti-virus software to consumers, two years after entering the cut-throat market.

It said the Windows Live OneCare consumer security service would be dropped in June 2009 and be replaced by a free product, codenamed Morro, which remains under development.

“As a result of this new offering Microsoft will end subscription services for Microsoft Equipt in the first half of 2009,” a Microsoft spokeswoman told The Register yesterday.

“This was a difficult decision as Equipt was well received by both customers and partners."

The company is currently offering customers shackled with the defunct service a prorated refund and a copy of Microsoft Office Home and Student (perpetual licence) at no charge. It normally retails at $149.95.

As for when it will be killed off, MS told us: "The exact date when the product will be discontinued has yet to be decided but Microsoft is working closely with its retail partners, Circuit City in the US and DSGi in the UK to remove Microsoft Equipt from retail distribution and to communicate this move to customers."

Redmond issued its second quarter report last week in which it confirmed that revenue from the channel was down two per cent, citing "lower-than-usual inventory". ®

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