When it comes to business, we often recommend (and setup/configure/support) Microsoft Office 365, but now Microsoft has officially announced the availability of Office 365 Home Premium. This comes in conjunction with the newly announced Office 2013 Suite. There is new pricing out for both choices, which includes the option of an online subscription for $9.99/month or $99/year. For many households, this will be a good deal.
The typical software purchasing model requires an outlay of several hundred dollars to get the software and then it is often required that the purchase be made for each user in the house. In the new pricing model, you can purchase the Office 2012 Professional Plus Suite, which includes Word, Excel, PowerPoint, Outlook, OneNote, Access, and Publisher. This is the equivalent of Office Professional, which as a purchased product would cost $399.99. Granted, most people only need Office Home and Business (which doesn't have Access or Publisher) at $220, but it's Professional, nonetheless.
Another difference: the purchased version allows for a single install. The Software as a Service (SaaS) version (called Office 365) allows for 5 installs in your house - mom, dad, two kids, and a mobile laptop, for example. This goes for both PC and Mac! (though the Mac version is still at 2011) So when you compare the pricing in these examples, the Office 365 version is far less expensive.
Even for a single install, comparing the Office Home and Business version to the Office 365 Professional version (based on the $99 yearly pricing), you'd have to pay for 26 months before you would have paid as much as the full product would be. If you actually compared the Professional version, that would be 48 months. Obviously, if you are installing on multiple computers, this math would be even more obvious.
On top of that, with the subscription model, you actually get even more than that:
- Any time a new version of Office comes out, you get to upgrade to it for free. If you had bought the software outright, you'd have to purchase it again.
- "Streaming" versions of Office: On a computer that isn't your own, such as at a friend's/parent's/child's house, you can run Office applications there as well without installing anything on that computer and without using up one of your available licenses.
- Online versions of the Office applications: If you just need a stripped down version of an office program to make a few quick changes or just look at some documents you've stored, you can use the online Office Apps, via a web browser.
- SkyDrive storage: Heard of Dropbox? Or Box? Or one of the other "cloud storage" options? SkyDrive is like that. As a user of the service without the Office 365 part, you get 7gb of space for free, but as an Office 365 subscriber, you get an additional 20gb - totalling 25gb; that's a lot of storage. To make it even more valuable than some of the other cloud storage accounts, it also integrates the Office Web Apps as above, letting you actually edit documents online from anywhere.
- Skype minutes: 60/month. If you are familiar with Skype, then you know that Skype->Skype calls are free anyway, but these minutes allow you to call actual telephones from your computer or mobile device. This isn't a huge feature for me, but if you know people in other countries, this could definitely help save a few bucks.
There are other benefits that I haven't gone into here, but it's a pretty interesting new model, especially at the price point. We hear (often) how expensive all this technology stuff is and the option of $10/month is definitely appealing to many.
You can go to Microsoft's site for more information or to sign up for Office 365 Home Premium here.
Also, if you have any thoughts or comments on this new offering, please use the comment box below to add them. We'd love to see some interactivity here!