Regardless of what the general public’s opinion is, the world of online media isn’t free of pulling stories. If true, the story of ad-supported Office 2010 was just too big to handle for Michael Arrington’s TechCrunch site.

TechCrunch ran a story about Microsoft Office 2010 Online version going free and completely supported by ads. This would be a very radical departure from the previous years, given the fact that Microsoft Office suite is one of key financial pilars in the Microsoft world. Then again, the numerous hundreds of millions of users that use the Office suite is a huge bait for any advertiser. Imagine what would happen if Microsoft’s own crawlers would go through the documents you’re working on and display ads that are tied just towards you – a privacy concern nightmare and an advertising dream.

This story was published on TechCrunch and linked by few others, but few moments after, it disappeared from the face of the earth. And the big question is why?

"A secret tipster pointed us to a Credit Suisse report that posits that Microsoft is working hard on an ad-supported version of Microsoft Office. There will be two versions – one web-based and one for a desktop install – and both will have limited functionality compared to the full-bore suite. The plan is to create a version that is immune to piracy. Nigeria, for example, has a 92% piracy rate while the US is at 20%. Creating a free version would allow schools and average folk to enjoy an Microsoft Works-like environment while ensuring a steady stream of real revenue from larger IT shops."

Conclude what you want from this pulled story. If true, Microsoft Office 2010 will be a major change in the way how the company operates: the existing Office Live never even came close to being a popular alternative to the software suite, but if the company now stands behind it and earns revenue off the suite, things will change. Radically.

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