Microsoft started to offer, in just few countries for now, a free, but ad-sponsored, version of Work.
Works is a low-end “home productivity software suite” that has always been the younger, and cheaper, brother of the more famous Microsoft Office suite.
The latest version, Microsoft Works 9.0, not only offered the usual word processor, spreadsheet, database, but also a calendar application, a dictionary, and better support for Windows Vista; but the big news is around the price tag: free with ads, at least in some county. When users write their document or spreadsheet the will see small ads around the program interface.
For the moment the ads are only about Microsoft itself and a few partners, but the program has the ability to update its set of ads on-line so in the future more advertisers will come.
For the moment this offer is available only in 5 countries, United States, France, Canada, Poland and the United Kingdom, and only from selected computer makers.