Microsoft Office is a staple for many homes and businesses that depend on the programs Word, Excel, PowerPoint, Outlook, Publisher and other add-ons to perform their word processing, spreadsheet, and communications tasks. But the way this will be done is changing as Microsoft announced today its new version of its productivity suite.
Rent it every year
Office 365 will not only be offered as a standard software program that you can own, Microsoft is trying to convince longtime Office users to convert to an annual subscription plan that will allow online cloud access to the standard Office programs, on up to five computers, for $99.99 a year.
The yearly subscription includes all the standard Office programs, 20GB of SkyDrive cloud storage, plus 60 minutes of free Skype calling time.
Microsoft says a $100 per year subscription service to Office 365 is worth it. Kurt DelBene, president of the Microsoft Office Division, said today:
"People's needs change rapidly, and Office 365 Home Premium will change with them."
Because all of the Office products will reside on the Web, the idea is that updates can be instantaneously applied to any of the Office programs. However, whether this is really worth switching to an annual subscription is highly suspect since the Office line of products rarely need updating, outside of possible interface changes.
Steve Ballmer, CEO of Microsoft, praised Office 365 by stating:
"Today's launch of Office 365 Home Premium marks the next big step in Microsoft's transformation to a devices and services business.
“This is so much more than just another release of Office. This is Office reinvented as a consumer cloud service with all the full-featured Office applications people know and love, together with impressive new cloud and social benefits."
You can also buy it
Office 365 will still be offered as a standard purchase ($219), but the newest version will no longer be available via a standard disc, but must be downloaded from Microsoft, which could mean an hour or more of waiting till the download is complete.
Office 365 will not be compatible with XP so for those who “know and love” Office, there won’t be any love for PC users with the old operating system.