Microsoft has teamed up with retailer Circuit City to offer a consumer software subscription service that includes its Office, Windows Live OneCare, Messenger, and Photo Gallery applications and services. Microsoft has given its new Office-based software-plus-service bundle a new name — “Equipt” — and a due date (mid-July), company officials said on July 2.
Equipt is the product/service that was formerly codenamed “Albany” (and inside Microsoft, known as “ValueBox” ). Equipt will be offered exclusively through Circuit City beginning in mid-July. Subscriptions cost $69.99 for one year and cover use of the included software on up to three PCs. Subscribers will automatically receive upgrades to the products at no additional charge as they are released.
In offering software subscriptions to consumers, Microsoft is taking a page from its business playbook. The company offers its commercial customers subscription access to software and services under programs such as Open License and Select Plus.
Microsoft and Circuit City officials are hoping that the subscription model -- which offers predictable costs and convenient, all-in-one packaging -- will catch on in the home market. Microsoft Office product manager Bryson Gordon called Equipt "a convenient and affordable way to stay updated with the latest versions of Office and Windows Live OneCare."