There are currently a few different ways to get your hands on Microsoft Office. There are home and business versions of Office. And make a one-time purchase to get a version of Office that you can install on a single PC or pay for an Office 365 subscription that lets you install the operating system on one or more computers, always get the latest version as soon as it’s available, and connect to cloud services like OneDrive.

In recent years, Microsoft has really pushed Office 365 subscriptions, but the company also continues to offer the single-time-purchase version, which Microsoft has recently started to refer to as Office perpetual (because you pay once and then you can continue using it indefinitely without paying any more).

But in the future it looks like some features may only be available to customers willing to pony up the money for a monthly or annual subscription.

In a recent blog post, Microsoft explains that starting October 13th, 2020 you’ll either need an office 365 ProPlus subscription or a version of Office perpetual that’s still in the “mainstream support” cycle in order to connect to Office 365 services such as OneDrive (to save files to the cloud, edit documents simultaneously with other users, and so on).

In other words, buy a copy of Office 2016 and you get 5 years of mainstream support… including the ability to connect to OneDrive and other Office 365 services. But when mainstream supports (on October 13th, 2020), you’ll either need to buy a newer version of Office perpetual or pay for a subscription to keep using those features.

Don’t need cloud services? No problem. Keep using your current version of Office indefinitely. But Microsoft would clearly rather get you to spend money on a regular basis.

Alternately, you could stop spending any money at all on office software and just use Google Docs, LibreOffice, or one of several other free alternatives. Sure, some features may work differently than in Microsoft Office, and you may run into compatibility issues if everyone else you work with uses Microsoft products. But free is a lot cheaper than the $70 per year you’d spend to get the cheapest possible version of Office 365.

via Thurrott

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12 replies on “Microsoft steps up push for Office 365 subscriptions over single-license Office installs”

  1. At $99 /yr for 5 installs each with 1TB of cloud storage, and Office subscription is a bargain. That’s 5TB of cloud for $99/yr. Even if you never use office, you can’t beat it. Find four friends and it is $20/month.

  2. No one buys standalone MS Office any more this is a non-issue, Office 365 is exceptionally good value.

    The only people who get their panties in a twist are those still stuck in a mindset of boxed software from the 90’s.

    1. I’m one of those with twisted panties. Though to be completely honest I’m going commando today.
      I bought my last copy of Office perhaps 10 years ago. It was a student version for $125 or something. It’s still in use by a family member today who will not give up on an Excel based system they use to keep track of a collection.
      Office 365 for students can be a good value but to buy it beyond that would have been considerably more expensive in my case. I’d be into MS for approaching $1000 now. At half that it would have been a bad deal.
      What you need depends a lot on who/what you need to interact with and what they use. For me Google Docs works brilliantly and has now for quite a few years.
      Frankly to me what really seems a 90s mindset is that most people need MS Office at all.

  3. In year 2020, people will be asking ‘what is Microsoft Office?’ or, rather they will be asking ‘what is Microsoft, altogether?’ There are plenty of open-source and free word processor software like Libre Office, Open Office, Neo Office, K-Office and the best from Google called Google Docs. Microsoft never offer anything free of charge, and it is catching up to it.

    1. I don’t think that will be true in 2020, Jogi. Hovever, I hope by 2022 or 2023 businesses will have switched to Libre Office or some successor cheaper or free full office suite. I guess $10 a month is OK (especially if you actually have five computers to use it on) if you actually have use for OneDrive or Outlook but for those that just need an office suite with a spreadsheet, word processor and/or presentation program being forced into paying for a Microsoft Office license (whether monthly/annually or perpetual) at home just so you have the ability to do advanced functions the same as you would at work. As for me, I don’t use either Outlook or OneDrive — I even had a one year free 1TB subscription to OneDrive with a new laptop I bought bundled with the purchase and didn’t even activate that particular feature.

      1. Nobody’s forcing you to do anything. My single copy of Office 2013 is all I need from Microsoft and the rest of my cloud-based computing needs are met by Google, for zero dollars a month.

    2. That’s just wishful thinking. There is no evidence to support the idea that MS Office is about to be sidelined. In fact, their financial reports quite clearly prove that Office is one of the key growth engines for Microsoft these day, and will continue to be for some time.

      A hodgepodge of free Office clones, as well-intentioned as they are, can’t expect to compete with an MS Office product that is continuing to evolve into a set of integrated business-related services.

  4. Maybe they are hoping that subscriptions will be like gym memberships, in that people will just keep paying them without noticing.

    1. There’s no maybe about it. Subscriptions are a much more reliable revenue stream than one-off sales of products that get used for years.

      With one-off sales, customer inertia loses business for the company, but with subscriptions, customer inertia ensures more business for the company.

      Also, forking out a few bucks a month is far less of an obstacle for many people than finding several hundred dollars at once. Adobe’s Photoshop subscriptions have been a roaring success among low paid artists and photographers.

  5. I tried Office365 and chucked it because I couldn’t figure out how to make my NAS at work as my default drive.

  6. I know a lot of people are going to say LibreOffice isn’t good enough to replace Microsoft Office, but I have been using LibreOffice/OpenOffice for years without any problems. I just set the default file type to Microsoft’s format and have never had a compatibility issue. I don’t use features like pivot tables but I bet most home users don’t either.

    1. I’ve been using LibreOffice for a while, too. I, however, get frustrated by its incompatibilities, though am not (yet) ready to chuck it. Anyway, it’s my best option on a Linux computer. 🙂

      My nagging problems are that 1) you can’t highlight text in LibreOffice and un-highlight it in MS Office and 2) LibreOffice formats footnotes differently and they need to be cleaned up in MS Office. My biggest problems have been with spreadsheet macros and pick lists. Sometimes LibreOffice won’t even open spreadsheets with these in them. This limits some of the work I can do at home.

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