Microsoft is Getting Smarter

Microsoft announced on its Windows Phone Blog that the new Office Mobile 2010 is available for free. There is, of course, a catch. You have to own a previous version of mobile Office. Even with the catch, it seems that Microsoft has finally figured out what Google has known all along. People like FREE apps.

Microsoft has been terribly slow on the uptake when it comes to free products. It’s flagship Microsoft Office Suite is the priciest of the popular productivity suites, and there were no signs of letting up on the steep entry fees. Google Apps, Zoho, Open Office, and even WordPerfect were able to take full advantage of Microsoft’s lack of free options. It seems that Microsoft has finally gotten smart and is offering its software as a free upgrade.

Does this mean that Microsoft will start offering more stuff for free? Hopefully, but unlikely. Microsoft has been fragmenting its products for years, offering dumbed-down versions for lower prices, yet still hard to reach for many consumers. If Microsoft insists on having three home versions, a couple enterprise versions, and other high-cost software, it will take a long time before they recover from their current freefall.

This may very well be a case of too little, too late. Microsoft took way to long to join the free app movement. Even now, this is just a free upgrade to a paid product. While this is certainly a smart move, Microsoft has a long way to go.

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