Microsoft, benevolent ruler of all that is technology, announced yesterday that its next version of Works* (9, for those keeping score at home) will be available for some consumers as a pre-installed, advert-packed freebie on new PCs... which is effectively what it is now anyway, except for the adverts bit.
Why do I find this interesting? Aside from it following in the slip-stream of Google Docs & Spreadsheets (web-based) and the veteran Open Office (open-source, hard drive installed), the initiative is to see whether a new business model could be found to support the funding of software (or so the last line of this story hints - and the Yahoo! story linked to above also implies) which obviously has implications for other applications developed by Microsoft - or even others. Could we see a free (or at least subsidised) version of Office in the future, provided we could put up with the adverts?
* A piss-poor version of Microsoft Office which is good enough if you're not interested in doing anything really advanced.