Farewell Office 2010 Starter

Just as an interesting note, the Office 2010 OPK with Office 2010 starter got pulled from the OEM website late last week. MS is effectively cutting Office Starter 2010 (the ad-supported, free, limited OEM-installed version), and pushing OEMs to install a 'Office 2010 Transition OPK' which only has the 60 day demo and provision for entering a PKC to enable full functionality.

The official reason is to prepare for the next version of Office to launch late this year / early next year, and to ensure that customers using the $15 upgrade to Windows 8 don't get saddled with a poor experience (side snap and the forced ads seem mutually exclusive for screen real estate). They're planning to beef up the free Office Web apps to compensate. The cynic in me also feels that it's also to push Windows RT hard, since the value of the included Office apps goes up relatively if there's no free Office option for full Windows 8.

Office 2010 was a little limited (removed some non-consumer functions, forced an ad in the side bar that reduced usable screen) but it was at an awesome price (about $2 for the OEM), will be sad to see it go. It was a great value add for OEMs, even if there were some draconian restrictions on how you could advertise it in marketing material. MS is going to have to do some work on the Office Web Apps to bring them up to speed.