Microsoft is actually taking the plunge to offer stripped down versions of Microsoft Word and Excel free of charge. Notice that these are, in fact, going to be installed locally on your systems, not just available in the Cloud.
The new version will be called Microsoft Office 2010 Starter.
Read Ina Fried’s CNET article here.
Unfortunately I haven’t heard if Microsoft is planning on offering the Office 2010 Starter as a download. So far all the talk seems to be about having it pre-installed on new PC’s. Mary Jo Foley wrote last December that users of Office 2010 could utilize a feature called “Office To Go” where Office 2010 Starter could be run from a USB device.
We will keep an eye out for a deployable version of Microsoft Office 2010 Starter and, assuming it exists, we will demonstrate how it can be deployed to your organization via Admin Arsenal.
Our blog contains step-by-step instructions for deploying Office and other applications.