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

Office 365 (Office Online or Locally Installed, Software Subscription)

Office-365-iconWith the introduction of Office 2013, Microsoft is introducing a subscription pricing structure for the first time to its flagship productivity suite.  Software as a subscription is a new concept, and many vendors are still waiting to see how both enterprise and retail consumers accept the new delivery model.  The jury is still out.

However, the cost for Office 2013 as a subscription is $100 per year or $10 per month for up to 5 seats. The Student/Teacher/ University Faculty and Staff version is $80 bucks for 4 year subscription. The software is available as an internet activated, local install or via Office.com online.  Once the subscription expires, users can use the software to view and/or print the documentation, but not edit it.

Along with the software, the subscription also gets you the following:

  • Always the latest and most complete set of Word, Excel, PowerPoint, OneNote, Outlook, Publisher and Access
  • Up to five seats on the following devices: Windows tablets, PCs or Macs, and Ofice.com
  • An additional 20 GB of SkyDrive cloud storage
  • 60 free Skype world calling minutes per month to call mobile phones, landlines or PCs around the world

The big problem with the subscription model is the way MS has chosen to have the software expire. Other venders allow users to continue to use the software in an unupdatable state.  If MS were to do that, they’d have a gazillion 1 month subscribers upon ever major release or SP update and that’s it. No one would buy the software or continue to subscribe after the end of the first month.

It’s clear that the subscription model is easier to afford on a monthly or yearly basis, and could potentially get more users into the suite. With the current revision cycle (2007 to 2010, 2010 to 2013) lasting 3 years, MS loses money on the subscription model over the lifecycle of the suite. It looks like their betting on the attractiveness of the subscription price to entice more users than previously purchased Office licenses.

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