Office 365 – Is Office Online the Right Choice for You?

Office 2013 and the latest release of Office 365, Microsoft’s Online Office Suite, are available starting today. Are they right for you?

I’ve been using Microsoft Office 2013 since it became available for Microsoft TechNET subscribers in the Summer of 2012.  The suite is pretty decent, with updates to all of the major apps in the suite.  The big question though – is it worth the upgrade price?

The answer is actually simpler than you might think – That depends.  You have a couple different choices with the latest incarnations of Microsoft’s cash cow that give you some decent flexibility. I take a quick look at both of these from a very high level in this two part blog series.

Office 2013

3With office 2013, you get the traditional experience you’re used to with the MS Office suite, including the price points.  Office 2013 Home & Student is $139.99, Home & Business is $219.99, and Professional Plus is $499.99. While the most reliable options, in terms of access and use, they are the most expensive.  This has been, perhaps the single biggest problem with Microsoft Office – its cost; and Microsoft has been searching for pricing alternatives for quite some time.

All of the applications have received considerable updates from their 2010 counterparts.  The single, largest noticeable feature is that they are skinned for Windows 8.  Their flat 2D look clashes with the Aero powered desktop of Windows 7 and Windows Vista. However, all the apps seemed to have gotten huge performance boost with the 2013 edition, even on Windows 7.

Of all the aps, I use Outlook the most.  I think Outlook 2013 for Windows is perhaps the best version of Outlook I’ve ever used.  The app is clean, responsive, and stable.  It works like you’d expect Outlook to work, and doesn’t seem to have any strange or unusual bugs, though the Exchange Server I connect to doesn’t have all of the services (like booking meeting resources and rooms) active.

If you used the preview version of Office 2013 at all, then you’re going to see pretty much the same experience with the released version as in the Preview.  It was stable to begin with.  The released version really did nothing more than add fit and polish to an already stable code base.

Microsoft Office 2013 is available through a number of brick and mortar and online stores and is currently for PC only. The comparable Mac version won’t be available for at least another 12-18
months.

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