Microsoft dumps Office Starter from PC maker choices


While Microsoft has not disclosed a ship date for Office 2013, it's expected to go on sale after the launch of Windows 8; for at least several months, OEMs will have to load their machines with Office 2010, not the new Office 2013.

"OPK versions prior to the Office 2010 Transition OPK installed on Windows 8 PCs may create a bad user experience for Office Starter 2010," Microsoft added in explaining why it yanked Office Starter 2010.

People who have purchased new Windows 7 PCs with Office Starter 2010 will be alerted about a necessary update if they later upgrade their machine to Windows 8. The patch will be pushed to affected PCs using Windows Update.

Foley said her sources reported that Microsoft would push Office Web Apps -- the free online editions of Word, Excel, PowerPoint and OneNote that rely on a scaled-back subset of the desktop versions' features -- as the replacement for Office Starter 2010.

Microsoft did not reply to a request for confirmation of the demise of Office Starter 2010, or to questions about what, if anything, may replace it for OEMs.