Microsoft Corporation announced on Friday that it is currently testing a subscription based office suite, dubbed Albany, which includes Office Home, Student 2007, Windows Live Mail, Messenger and other Office Live Workspaces.
The software giant is currently testing Albany, currently in beta with thousands of beta participants, in an effort to take on rival services such as Google Docs.
Albany would be offered through a subscription service, but it is unknown whether the company will charge users monthly or annually. Moreover, the company is still deciding through which channels Albany will be sold, although sources close to the company previously said retail outlets such as Best Buy would be among places people could purchase it.
The new subscription service is based on consumer feedback and offers Word, Excel and PowerPoint applications found in the commercial version of Office. The new plug-in for Office Live Workspaces will give customers the ability to store and share documents online.
The online Office Suite also covers basic PC security needs by using Windows Live OneCare. OneCare is Microsoft’s firewall and anti-virus protection.
While the new home-user aimed Office application is currently in beta, Microsoft said they are not planning a public beta for the new subscription service, which it expects to release before the end of the year.