Starting to closer resemble the Office suite, the replacement for Microsoft Works has a few limitations, including the absence of macros.
Next Spring Microsoft will commercially release the Office 2010 suite, while at the same time Works will be replaced by Office Starter 2010. Containing Office Word Starter 2010 and Office Excel Starter 2010, the Office Starter 2010 suite will have all of the basic functions so that you can read, edit and create documents.
Office Starter 2010 will only be offered on new PC (pre-installed) via Microsoft OEM partners. The suite will be freely offered, with the deployment being financed through advertising. This pack will also be compatible with all Office file formats while also being able to handle the Open XML and ODF formats which have been developed following ISO standards.
With a user interface identical to Office, Office Starter 2010 will also be an entry point towards the full version thanks to an upgrade process which is available in just a few clicks. This option may only interest experienced users through, as a novice user may not necessarily require anything extra than normal word processing and basic excel tables.
With the release of the Office 2010 beta version, Microsoft has also sent out a trial version of the Office Starter 2010 suite to a group of testers. For ZDNet, Mary-Jo Foley has already taken a quick look around and noticed that there are some restrictions on this basic version. In terms of file formats, the compatibility with Word and Excel 2010 won’t be perfect, as Word Starter and Excel Starter 2010 don’t exactly support the same level of files.
Office Starter 2010 won’t be able to open files with the .dsn, .mde, .accde and .udl extensions which are database related. In the same way, the .xla and .xlam files linked to Excel macros are also not compatible. Generally speaking, if a document contains a macro, then the document will be opened by Office Starter 2010 but the macro will be disabled. The suite is also not capable of creating or editing a macro.
Files with the .odc extension, an OpenDocument format for diagrams will also not be included in Office Starter 2010. To these limits we can add the lack of certain options like the automatic creation of a summery and dynamically linked table.