Microsoft Nudges Users Towards the Cloud with Office 365

Microsoft nudges households and small businesses towards subscriptions with Office 2013, 365 pricing

Microsoft has unleash Office 2013 and Office 365 upon the world, and in doing so the world is closer to hosting everything in the Cloud, certainly more so now than ever before. This appeal to me a great deal because my hard drive just failed yesterday.

What does it cost? Standalone versions, licensed for use on a single computer, will still be available, the new strategy makes it more affordable for many homes and business to opt for a subscription package instead. Office Home and Student 2013 (with Word, Excel, PowerPoint and OneNote) will cost $139, while Home and Business adds Outlook for $219, and the top of the line Professional package includes all of those along with Access and Publisher for $399. Compare those to the two Office 365 packages, which promise customization that follow their users around, expanded cloud storage, access to all of the apps and automatically receive any future updates that come out for them.

Office 365 Home Premium will cost $99 per year, with 20GB of SkyDrive storage and 60 minutes of Skype calling per month and access on five computers, along with the ability to change out the devices at any time, and use “full featured apps” temporarily on any PC. It’s a single subscription for up to 5 users, and will have a 30 day free trial available. Alternatively, small businesses with 1-10 employees could opt for Office 365 Small Business Premium that also comes with all the apps, but lets each user install it on up to 5 different PCs or Macs, along with 25GB Outlook storage, an organization-wide 10GB cloud drive plus 500MB for each user, online meetings and even website hosting. That also has a free trial, but costs $149 per user, per year. If you can’t wait, buying Office 2010 or Office 2011 for Mac as of October 19th entitles users to a free upgrade to Office 2013 or one year of Office 365 free.

Clearly, Microsoft would prefer it if users took advantage of the new pay-per-year offerings, but what do you think? In the past I have been accustom to using alternatives like Open Office, but I find the 20GB of SkyDrive storage and access on five computers very appealing. I’m thinking my whole family (included my sister out of state) could split the cost and utilize this service for a fraction of the cost. That sound good, but of course I want to keep the 60 minutes of Skype calling per month for myself!


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