Microsoft kills Works in favor of ad-supported Office, OpenOffice and Google Docs still free

Microsoft is finally putting useless and cumbersome Microsoft Works out of its misery. In other news, Microsoft was still making Microsoft Works.

In lieu of a frustrating and pointless version of Works, PC users can look forward to a stripped-down and ad-supported Office Starter 2010. The suite will include Word and Excel, dropping PowerPoint and OneNote for users who haven’t upgraded to the pay version. All the necessary bits for Home Student, Home Business or Professional versions will be installed with Office Starter, and can be unlocked with the purchase of a “key” or an activation card in electronics stores.

Takeshi Numoto, corporate VP for Office, declined to disclose whether Office Starter users would receive pricing incentives to shell out for pay versions of the software. Numoto feels that the new purchase options will reach new users who may have never been in front of a computer used Microsoft Office:

“This is a way for us to reach a lot of customers that we haven’t reached before,” Numoto said, explaining Microsoft’s strategy behind Office Starter, Click-To-Run and the new card-based licenses to be sold at retail. “This will get people a taste for Office, people who may not have been exposed to Office before.”

Scanning over the quotes from Microsoft execs just makes highlights the fact that so much functionality is available in open source versions of similar software. Google Docs and OpenOffice have some limitations-mainly when working with someone using MS Office-but deliberate reduced functionality and high cost aren’t among them. Aside from necessary collaboration with Office users, do you have any compelling reasons to keep paying for it?