Microsoft just announced that they will be releasing a FREE version of Office for as an add supported version. This new low end version of office will be called Microsoft Office 2010 Starter Edition and will only have a Word and Excel and these two version of the product will be reduced functionality versions.
However both products are not time limited like the version of Office that is installed on almost every new computer that is sold today. This current Microsoft Office trail version expires after 90 days and then you either need to buy a full version of the product or they fall back to the MS Works which is also installed on the computer.
Now there is no doubt that there will be hacks and cracks for this version of office to get rid of the Advertisement control but I am sure Microsoft are just betting that most people wont bother as most people who use this version are probably just the mum and dad users out their who would not where to start to crack their software.
I also suspect that this move is to combat people switching to the other free Office product in the market Open Office which is surprising as up until now it has had little or no impact on the Microsoft Office Market share. In fact Office 2007 was surprising a big success story as many more companies have deploy it where they held off with deploying Vista.
What will also be interesting will be if AV and Spyware scanners will detect this version of office as adware and try to remove it. Either way this is going to be a great move for Microsoft to get the foot in the door for people to use Microsoft Office and which will un-doubly lead to many more people to want to buy the upgrade version.