Microsoft Nudges Office 365 Home Users to the Cloud
Microsoft has been dishing out various flavors of Office 2013 since November 2012, when enterprises with volume license plans got first access to the finished software. In mid-January, employees at those companies could buy a discounted copy as part of Microsoft's Home Use Program. And Microsoft recently took the wraps off Office 365 Home Premium, which we took a look at.
Tue, March 19, 2013
Office 2013 is available at retail at prices ranging from $139 to $399 for use on a single PC. But Microsoft's pricing model, which allows users to install Office 365 Home Premium on a total of five PCs, Macs or Windows tablets for $8.34 per month or $99.99 a year, is clearly geared toward getting individuals and businesses to adopt Office 365 services.
Office 365 Home Premium includes downloadable versions of Word, Excel, PowerPoint, Outlook, OneNote, Access, and Publisher. And, in addition to the five PCs, apps can be temporarily streamed to other devices on demand or you're able to do light editing with Web App versions of the software - both options don't count against your license tally.
The math works out like this: If you're part of a large family or an independent business person with multiple systems, Office 365 could save you decent money compared to the minimum $139 cost (Home and Student) of buying the software for each computer; further, at that price, you don't get Outlook, Access and Publisher. And to make subscriptions more enticing, Office 365 Home Premium includes 20GB of SkyDrive online storage and 60 minutes a month of Skype international calling (together valued at about $160 per year).
And now some of the nuts and bolts. Office 365 Home Premium is technically a cloud service. You sign in to Office.com to manage your subscription, and documents are stored in SkyDrive by default. But the Office applications are still installed on your PC. The point Microsoft emphasizes is that the latest Office 2013 version will automatically download when you're online - and the company is committed to a quarterly cycle of bug fixes and enhancements. Put another way, no more manually installing fixes, security patches and service packs - and reduced wait time for new features.
Easy to manage, easy to use
Getting started with Office 365 Home Premium is simple. I visited the setup website, entered my product key, logged in, and selected the option to install the software. After about 20 minutes, the full Office 2013 suite had downloaded and was ready to use.