Earlier this week Microsoft announced to various partners that they are phasing out Microsoft Office Starter. This bare-bones version that came installed with many prebuilt computers as a free addon has been doing the rounds for quite some time. But, as with many things recently, Microsoft is opting to move its Office online, which will be preloaded onto new machines as Office Web Apps.

In 2008 Microsoft announced their Web-based Office software, and since 2010 it has been live for everyone to use, free of charge.
No doubt they were trying to catch up to the likes of Google and its online cloud processing cohorts at that point. The software features Word, Excel, Power Point and One Note. It also serves as a sharing platform, and Office Web Apps is also available as a server based system for large companies.

Originally, MS Office Starter was found on most OEM desktops and laptops. Users were expected to try it out, and when they liked it enough buy the full version, which was installed on a separate, locked partition on the computer. Unfortunately for Microsoft, this didn't work out so well, and this seems probably part of the motivation to change the platform.