Microsoft’s next version of its small-business/home productivity suite, due imminently, will be free and ad-funded.
Microsoft Works 9.0 — which will be the new product’s name, if Microsoft opts to stick with its current nomenclature — might also debut at some point as Microsoft-hosted low-end productivity service, as many have been speculating. A hosted version of Works would give Microsoft a head-to-head competitor with Google Docs & Spreadsheets and other consumer- and small-business focused services, analysts have said.
For the time being, however, the new version of Works will be ad-funded, according to Satya Nadella, the newly minted Corporate Vice President of Microsoft’s Search & Advertising Platform Group. Nadella told me during an interview on July 27 that Microsoft recently released the new ad-funded version of Microsoft Works.