Microsoft releases Office 2013, but is reallying pushing Office 365 subscriptions

Microsoft has fingers in many pots these days, but there are still two pieces of software that most people identify with Microsoft: The Windows operating system and the Microsoft Office suite. The company released its latest version of Windows in October, and now the company’s new Office software is ready to go.

The company made some big changes with the launch of Windows 8 and Windows RT by emphasizing touchscreen support and enabling support for devices with ARM-based processors. Office is getting an overhaul that’s at least a big, with Microsoft not only pushing Office 2013, but also the Office 365 subscription-based service.

Office 2013

Here’s the idea: You can spend $139 or more for an Office license that lets you download and install the software on your computer.

Or you can pay $99.99 per year for an Office 365 Home Premium subscription. If you take that route, you can install Office on up to 5 different computers. The subscription also means you’ll always have access to the latest version of Office.

So if Office 2015 comes out while you’re still a paid subscriber, you can download and install the update for no additional fee.

Office 365 works on both Mac and Windows — but since the latest version of Office for Mac is Office 2011, that’s what you’ll get with your Office 365 subscription if you’re using OS X.

All told, it seems like subscriptions could save you some money if you plan to install Excel, PowerPoint, and Word on a couple of computers and you typically upgrade every time there’s a new version of Office available. But if you’ve been happy with Office 2003 for the last decade, there’s probably not much benefit in moving to a subscription service which will stop working when you stop paying.

Microsoft does offer a 1-month free trial though.

Personally, I’ve been using the free OpenOffice and LibreOffice suites for most of the past 10 years, but I’m also not an Office power user. I know plenty of folks who use features I’ve never even heard of, and aren’t happy with any office suite that doesn’t come from Microsoft.

Oh yeah, in addition to a new subscription-based option, Office also now offers a touch-friendly user interface for Windows 8 users, integration with SkyDrive, allowing you to automatically upload documents to the cloud and sync your data and settings across multiple devices.

  • http://twitter.com/wizeadz Wize Adz

    I’d pay for a copy Microsoft Office, if it ran on Linux. But it doesn’t. So I won’t pay. LibreOffice FTW.

    • CyberGusa

      You never know, they may have started something when they finally offered Skype for desktop Linux.

      While online services, which MS is starting to push now, can probably be used from any OS with a compatible browser anyway…

      • http://twitter.com/wizeadz Wize Adz

        Skype was available for Linux before Microsoft bought the company.

        But I’ve recently paid for Skype because a) I needed the n-way video conferencing and b) it runs on Linux. So, I stand by my statement. :-)

      • CyberGusa

        It doesn’t matter whether Skype was available under the original owners or not, the point is MS is officially supporting it for Linux!

        So Linux users can get the latest version, etc…

        MS is even using Linux for the upgraded servers they set up for the increase features they’ve introduced to Skype since MS took over.

        While Office is something MS doesn’t hoard for Windows only either, having long supported ports to OSX for example.

        There have been rumors of versions coming out for Android and iOS as well… though if true it’s either a limited app version or something more along the lines of actually using Office 365…

        Cloud service means they can offer it to any platform as long as they can run a compatible browser and any necessary plug-ins… even if it has to be integrated into the browser/app itself.

        Thing to remember is MS isn’t just about Windows but has other products and services they want to cater to as many users as possible and that extends beyond just Windows users!

      • http://twitter.com/wizeadz Wize Adz

        I hope Microsoft is turning over a new leaf when it comes to playing well with others.

        But, I’ve been working in the computer industry for over 20 years, and they’ve spent the entire time trying to stifle anything that is non-Microsoft through maneuvering and by selling to managers and OEMs rather than by appealing to customers. It’s possible that they’ve decided to embrace the new reality but, if history is any guide, it’s probably only a matter of time until they kill the Linux- version of Skype (and loose me as a paying customer). They refueled to engage me about making their products more appealing for over 20 years, so I’m not exactly holding my breath for a kinder, gentler, more user-focused Microsoft that actually meets my needs as a customer.

        If anyone at Microsoft wants to talk to me, I’ll be more than happy to make specific technical suggestions on how to improve their products. The last time I had a chance to sit down and talk with a Microsoft engineer about a problem with “Product A” that was a result in a design flaw of “Product B”, engineers for “Product A” dismissed my concerns with a silence that indicated that the engineers for “Product B” were about as likely to listen to them as they were to me. That’s not the kind of engagement that I expect from a serious enterprise software vendor when talking to the kind of potential multimillion dollar customer in a market they were trying to “penetrate” that I was representing at that time.

        What I want from Microsoft:
        1) Interoperability. I use Linux to do my job. My employer chose Exchange and Lync as “enterprise” communication tools. Exchange and Lync don’t really work from Linux. Therefore, Exchange and Lync are broken for me and my company.
        2) Listen to actual users of the product. Microsoft sells to managers and OEMs. I’ve spent my career actually running and using Microsoft products, and the design of their products lacks flexibility. For instance, how the ^^#&* can Exchange web access only provide full support for IE, and not allow wildcards or regular expressions in filter rules? Yeah, yeah, people who don’t know what those are don’t miss ‘em, but procmail has the worse user interface in the world but is way easier to use, because it has a few basic features that are required to make e-mail filters work properly that Exchange does not have. There are are also hundreds of minor GUI tweaks that would make Windows easier to use — for instance, you can’t resize a lot of the common dialog boxes on Windows, but their content is bigger than the box. I’ve got thousands of pixels available on my screen to display the information, but I can’t use them because it hasn’t occurred to MIcrosoft to fix the problem since the dialog box was written in 1999, and because there’s no way to tell them that there’s a problem.

        Anyway, I apologize but I’m just getting started. I’ve got 20 years of frustration with Microsoft’s products, and I’m hoping someone at Microsoft reads this article and can act on this suggestion. Because this is the best communications channel I have. If someone were actually listening, I could provide proper bug reports on all of this. But, after two decades of being ignored, I’ve found it’s easier just to contribute code to Open Source than it is to get things fixed on Windows.

      • CyberGusa

        Well, there’s always hope… the one thing we can be sure of is they can’t handle the business the same way with subscription service as they’ve done before and it does make more sense for them to market their software to as wide a base as possible.

        So we’ll see if they follow the reasonable route or go their own way again…

        Though commenting on their developers blogs would probably get more notice…

      • http://twitter.com/wizeadz Wize Adz

        Hopefully they’ll turn themselves around in another decade or two! But they’re a big organization so, it’ll take time. Pretty much the only way I can see change happening any faster is if they replace Balmer with Alan Mulally or Marissa Meyer…! :-)

      • http://twitter.com/wizeadz Wize Adz

        I have a lot of respect for the ideals of the open source community.

        But I’m also pragmatic, and I’d be happy to buy Microsoft’s products if they would solve my problems. But they won’t sell me what I need, and what they sell to other people creates more for me. They could fix this easily by putting more emphasis on serving users and removing emphasis on to forcing people onto their platform.

        Suppose a full Microsoft-platform user spends $1000 over 5 years. With Microsoft’s “you’re with us or you’re against us” strategy, they get $0 from me. By selling me Office and Skype, they could get $400 from me, AND get me to stop badmouthing their products at every opportunity. What’s it gonna be, Microsoft?

  • strider_mt2k

    I used entirely open alternatives until I started working for a company that uses .docx files.
    Luckily they offer a program by which employees can get a copy of Orifice for ten dollars, so I went that route.