Microsoft Office. Should you rent or buy?
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Microsoft Office. Should you rent or buy?

en-CA_Off_Shopping_Tips_Office_LogoThe launch of Office 365 alongside Office 2013 reflects a sea change in the way Microsoft markets its office franchise. Now you can choose to buy Office 2013 in the traditional way or pay monthly for access to Office 365.

MSFTOffice365_Info_WEBI has been long rumoured that Microsoft would turn its cash cow Office franchise into a service that could be rented instead of purchased outright. With the launch of Office 365 those rumours became reality. A steady cash flow from this type of service has its attractions for Microsoft but the decision to change the way  an important product such as  Office is sold was backed by solid research indicating customers would like the idea.

According to an Ipsos Reid study released at the end of January, 70 per cent of Canadian parents depend on technology to keep their families connected, while 78 per cent believe that technology allows their families to stay better organized.

This survey, commissioned by Microsoft Canada, found that Canadians believe their lives have grown more complex over the past three years, and as a result, are utilizing new technology such as smartphones and cloud services to connect with family members on-the-go and stay on top of their hectic schedules.

As a parent of two children, I understand how difficult it can be to juggle work and family,” says Max Long, President, Microsoft Canada. “I also have close relatives in the UK and Norway, so keeping connected is important to me. With the new Microsoft Office 365 Home Premium ‘cloud’ service, we’ve completely reinvented Office to work from virtually anywhere on Windows-based tablets, Windows Phones, PCs as well as Macs. From managing schedules on Outlook and checking off a grocery list in OneNote, to organizing photos on SkyDrive and making Skype calls with far-away family members, parents are going to love the simplicity Office 365 brings to their lives.”

The result is a new way to obtain Office and share it with your entire family.

Now let’s take a look at the various ways you can acquire Microsoft Office:


As you can see the least expensive boxed solution is the somewhat limited Office Home and Student at $139.00 for only one PC while the most complete version Office Professional will set you back $519.00. It doesn’t take a math genius to see that a subscription to Microsoft Office 365 Home Premium at $99.00 per year for 5 PCs (if you have a Mac, Office 365 will install an updated version of Office for Mac 2011) is a really good deal for families and that is before you figure in the extra 20GB of storage on SkyDrive and the 60 free Skype world calling minutes per month to call mobiles, landlines or PCs around the world.

en-INTL_L_Office_365_University_R4T-00009Now if you have a student heading off to university Microsoft has a practical giveaway for him or her. Microsoft Office 365 University which has all the features of the Home Premium version is $79 for a four year subscription on 2 PCs or Macs. The Skype calls alone are worth more than that.

As an added benefit, Microsoft will be continually upgrading Office 365 so you don’t have to worry about keeping your software up to date. In my opinion this is a good deal for you the consumer providing you with an always up to date version of Office and the benefits of  “cloud” computing with SkyDrive but it is also good for Microsoft. First there is the steady cash flow to be derived from Office as a service but always current software reduces support costs as well. So everybody wins.

What do you think? Is this the way of the future or do you still prefer to buy boxed software. Let me know in the comments section below




Bob Benedetti

Former RCAF Fighter Pilot Bob worked for CTV Montreal as a Reporter, Producer and Executive producer for 35 years retiring in 2004. Bob started reporting on personal technology in 1995 at CTV and continues today at Home Technology Montreal

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