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Microsoft puts 'Equipt' up against Google Docs

Office package set for release in the US

Microsoft has chosen the name 'Equipt' for a forthcoming package of products that includes its Office suite, internet security software and other services, and will sell it for an annual subscription fee of $69.99 (£35.28).

Equipt, which was formerly known by its codename Albany, includes Office Home and Student 2007, Windows Live OneCare, Office Live Workspaces, Windows Live Mail, Live Messenger and Live Photo.

Microsoft plans to begin selling it in the US on 15 July through Circuit City, with other outlets to follow. It will be offered in other countries at about the same time, though pricing elsewhere was not announced.

The name comes from the idea that the package will help customers "equip their PC with a core set of services", said Bryson Gordon, a group product manager for Microsoft Office. "It resonated well with customers in testing."

Microsoft Office 2007 review

Indeed, the name is more succinct than Microsoft has used for some other Office products, including unwieldy names such as Microsoft Office Professional Plus 2007 and Microsoft Office Outlook with Business Contact Manager.

Rumours began circulating in March that Microsoft was devising a new way of packing Office to help it better compete with Google Docs and other free or low-cost productivity suites. The company sent out invitations to a select few, asking them to test a mysterious new project codenamed Albany.

The company asked people to sign non-disclosure agreements just to sign up for the test. In April, Microsoft confirmed the products that would be available in the package.

Gordon played down the effort to compete with Google Docs and other free office suites, such as IBM Symphony. He said Equipt is aimed at people who are interested in purchasing a PC security suite - such as Windows Live OneCare - and might forgo buying Office as well in favour of using an older copy they might already have, or that they might pirate. "We're lowering the barrier to entry" for those customers, he said.


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