Office 365 vs. Office 2013: Should You Rent or Own?
For individuals, there is no one answer when it comes to buying or renting Office. Let's take a look at the options.
Wed, January 30, 2013
PC World — For the first time Microsoft is tempting Office users to rent, not own, software that for decades they've bought as a standalone program. It's not a foreign proposition. We pay annual subscription fees for our anti-virus software. Last April, Adobe rolled out its Creative Cloud subscription package for renting Photoshop, Illustrator, and Dreamweaver.
Slideshow: 5 Hot Features of Microsoft Office 2013
Now Microsoft has hopped on the rental bandwagon and hopes you will start forking over a yearly subscription fee. For Microsoft that beats someone buying Office 2010 and never coughing up more money for a newer version. It's all about creating an annuity.
So, should you buy or should you rent? For individuals, there is no one answer. Let's take a closer look at your options and consider the pros and cons. But first a run-down of what your Office options are.
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Originally designed for businesses, Office 365 allows you to always have the latest version of Office for a yearly subscription fee of $100. You can still buy a boxed version of Office 2013 at your local computer shop with prices starting at $140 for Office 2013 Home and Student. But Microsoft is pushing the $100 per year option for Office 365.
With Office 365 Home and Business you get access to most apps from the Office suite including Word, Excel, PowerPoint, OneNote, Outlook, Access, and Publisher. Office 2013 Home and Student, by comparison offers you just Word, Excel, PowerPoint, and OneNote for $140. To get the boxed version of Outlook 2013 you need to fork over another $80 for Office 2013 Home and Business.
For those with multiple PCs
The Office 365 subscription gets harder to resist the more PCs you have. For those with two PCs, Office 365 will cost you $50 per PC, compared to paying $280 for the traditional desktop licenses needed for two PCs. When you get to $20 per PC (per year) for five PCs, compared to $700 to install Office Home and Student on five PCs, the subscription model becomes a no-brainer.
Five PC installations for $100 a year is a pretty good deal. On top of that, you also get a few freebies including 60 minutes of international Skype calling per month and an extra 20GB of SkyDrive storage.