In yet another sign that basic office software is fast becoming a commodity, the Big Monopoly from Redmond is planning to offer free web-based versions of their word processing and spreadsheet programs.

Most likely the online versions will be similar to the junior version of Word and Excel found in their give-away-with-a-new-computer package called Works, but that’s probably enough.

Obviously, they would love for people to use their free version and then upgrade to the full Office program. Especially since that package accounts for almost a quarter of their annual sales.

But I suspect that most individuals and many smaller businesses will find the BM’s free versions, along with competitors like Writely, Zoho, and the open source office packages, just fine for what they do.

Time to look for a new cash cow.

office software, online, word processor