Reuters is reporting that Microsoft is planning to offer a free version of its scaled down Office programme package Microsoft Works.

The software would be free to consumer as it will be paid for by advertising embedded into the programmes.

The ad-supported software would be pre-installed onto computers and the adverts, to be displayed on a user's screen, would be stored in a cache, and then updated as the user connects to the internet.

Reuters speculates that the Microsoft has been "pondering the future" of Microsoft Works after competition from Google's suite of online software services has begun to rival their offerings.

Microsoft Works 9 retails in the States for $39.95 while Works 8 is available in the UK for around £30, which makes you wonder if consumers would not just rather pay the relatively low price and not have to endure the ads.

Apparently the plan is to roll out the advertising-supported Microsoft Works SE 9 within the next few months.