Office 365: Microsoft’s Way Forward

The computer software industry is moving away from a “one-time purchase” model, to an ongoing (typically monthly) subscription fee model.

Why? Here are a few important reasons:

Cost: As an example, the full Adobe Creative Suite used to cost upwards of $2,000 as a one-time purchase. It can now be had for as low as $30 per month, making it much more accessible.

Upgrades: You always have access to the latest version of the software. By contrast, the one-time purchase model requires you to purchase every major upgrade, often at a hefty price. A lot of users don’t bother which leaves them running obsolete software.

Persistent Access: With a cloud-based subscription service, you can access your files and data from any computer, at any location.

When Microsoft released Office 365 back in June, 2011 the intent was to create a product that would provide all the same features, but with complete integration with the cloud and the ability to access it from anywhere at any time. Most versions of Office 365 even allow you to install the software on up to five separate computers, plus five mobile devices.

Today, Office 365 and Office 2013 (the “for-sale” version) have pretty much the same features. So why would you choose one over the other?

Choose Office 2013 if:

  • You plan to keep your computer longer than 3 years
  • You don’t care about running the latest software
  • You don’t need to access the software on multiple computers or multiple locations
  • You’d rather pay just once

Choose Office 365 if:

  • You have multiple computers or regularly use public computers
  • You want to make sure you always have the latest software
  • You’d prefer to spread out your costs
  • You frequently replace your computer(s)