Microsoft Offers Failing Software Free of Charge

Dennis Faas's picture

Wouldn't it be nice if every company offered users its lowest-selling, zero-profit-making products for free? Hey, I'd take a Sega Dreamcast. Well, now it appears that Microsoft is offering Office Accounting Express 2007 to end users for free, providing a complimentary license to download the otherwise expensive product.

Office Accounting Express 2007 (OAE 2007) is a low-end calculating program for small businesses. That doesn't make it a cheap product, but apparently it hasn't exactly been popular amongst Microsoft clients. As a result, the company is offering the program for free download as of October 30th. (

Why would Microsoft do such a thing?

The Big M is either:

  • Hoping the offer will draw heightened attention to a failing product
  • Make up the loss through the sale of add-ons to OAE 2007
  • Or simply get some good press from growing corporations

You can be certain that the real answer lies within a combination of all three. By making the product free, many more small businesses will jump aboard Microsoft's entry level accounting software. As they grow, so might their demand for options, and the Redmond-based company appears ready for such eventualities. Some notable additions include payroll maintenance ($169 per year), credit card processing ($9.95 a month), and pay-per-use credit profile services.

In addition, those who especially like the entry level OAE 2007 software can move on up to the feature-laden $149 version quite seamlessly.

Of course they can.

This also isn't the first time Microsoft has made such an offer. In September, MS offered users Microsoft Office Accounting free of charge. (

Regardless of Microsoft's intentions, it's an interesting angle. We certainly hope the company adopts this policy with all of its failing products.

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