Microsoft Equipt offers consumers Microsoft Office Home and Student 2007, giving them the latest versions of Word, Excel, PowerPoint and OneNote for their personal and school projects; Windows Live OneCare, the all-in-one security and PC management service; Windows Live tools, such as Windows Live Mail, Windows Live Messenger and Windows Live Photo Gallery so they can connect and share with people they care about most; and Office Live Workspace, a new service from Microsoft that makes it easy to save documents to a dedicated online Workspace and share them with friends and classmates. Anytime a new version of Office or Windows Live OneCare is released, Microsoft Equipt customers will get the version upgrades as part of their subscriptions.
Microsoft Equipt is $69.99 (U.S.) estimated retail price for a one-year renewable subscription. Each subscription will be good for three home PCs, making Microsoft Equipt ideal for families and individuals with one or several computers.
Microsoft Equipt will be sold in nearly 700 Circuit City stores in the U.S. starting mid-July 2008.
Ignoring the "Live" freebies, a visit to Amazon reveals that you can buy a OneCare subscription (3 licenses) for $21.95 per year leaving $48.04 annually to amortize the $111.49 that Amazon charges for Home and Student 2007 (3 licenses). That works out to a payoff of 2.3 years for buying the software upfront instead of getting an Equipt subscription and you will be able to use it forever. Of course, you won’t get the version upgrades with an upfront purchase, but how many consumers really care about that and if new versions only come every 4-5 years it’s a wash. On the face of it, Equipt isn’t a real consumer savings standout.
I would also observe that the marketing plan apparently isn’t complete since Circuit City could hardly be the exclusive retail source. It will also be interesting see if Microsoft can get Equipt preloaded by OEM’s on new PCs some of which currently ship with Home and Student trial offers. All it really takes is money to get that done.
All in all, while there may be a pony for Microsoft in a consumer software subscription service, Equipt as announced hardly seems to be it.