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Old 07-19-2009, 12:00 PM   #1
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LXer: The Hidden Cost of Microsoft's 'Free' Online Office Suite

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Despite what you’ve heard, the online version of Office 2010 announced by Microsoft earlier this week won’t be free to corporate users, and isn’t a threat to the likes of Google, Adobe, or even Zoho, which sells online productivity software to small and medium-sized businesses. It’s true that Microsoft will offer consumers a free “lightweight” version of Office 2010 through their Windows Live (formerly Hotmail) accounts. But that largess doesn’t extend to business customers, who will either have to pay a subscription fee or purchase corporate access licenses (CALs) for Office in order to be given access to the online application suite. Microsoft already does this with email – the infamous Outlook Web Access (or OWA, pronounced ow!-wah! because of the painful user experience). But wait – there’s more! A Microsoft spokesperson told me that customers will need to buy a SharePoint server, which ranges from $4,400 plus CALs or $41,000, all CALs included if they want to share documents using the online version of Office 2010.



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