Bundling used to be a bad word at Microsoft, considering the company's long-running problems with the Justice Department.
But these days, bundling is once again king at the company. On Monday, Microsoft launched a new promotional bundle combining productivity- and entertainment-focused services for $199 for a one-year subscription.
The new Work & Play Bundle includes Office 365 Home, Xbox Live Gold, Xbox Music Pass and Skype Unlimited World and Wi-Fi. The bundle is available through January 4 "or while supplies last." Although the package is accessed through codes, it is available in "select Microsoft full line retail stores in the United States only."
The Office 365 Home subscription includes Word, Excel, PowerPoint and 1TB of online storage through OneDrive. The Xbox subscriptions offer access to games and music. The Skype subscription features unlimited global calling and access to 2 million Wi-Fi hot spots worldwide.
(Users who already subscribe to Office 365, Xbox Live, Xbox Music, or Skype Unlimited World will see their subscription to any of those pieces automatically extended by one year when they activate the bundle codes.)
This bundle is interesting for a few reasons. First, it epitomizes Microsoft's "dual-use" positioning, which is based on the idea that users often are running both work and "play" apps and services on the same device. The new bundle also makes productivity apps and services an inseparable part of the package.
Finally, the Work & Play Bundle is yet another example of Microsoft's increasing push toward subscription services, via which the company collects recurring revenue.
This story originally posted as "Microsoft pushes its dual-use vision with $199 Work & Play Bundle" on ZDNet.