I have to admit, this is a move I would not have predicted:
We may see an ad-supported version of Microsoft Office after all. Yesterday, at the Morgan Stanley Technology Conference in San Francisco, Microsoft Business Division president Stephen Elop said Microsoft would release an ad-supported version of Microsoft Office 14 -- Office 14 is expected to hit stores in 2010. Elop said the purpose behind releasing a free version of Microsoft Office with ads displayed alongside the workspace was to draw "pirate customers into the revenue stream."
That's a pretty stark sign of how much churn there is across the software sales space - Office is one of the two main revenue sources for Microsoft, so seeing them willing to release an ad supported version is a pretty big change. I'm sure that lots of software vendors will be paying attention - both to see if it happens, and - if it does - how well it works out.