Microsoft

Individual users can get more and spend less for Office 365 Personal

Tony Bradley takes a look at Microsoft's new low-cost option for Office 365, which is aimed at individual users.

 

Office 365 Personal
 

Microsoft is shaking things up a bit in the Office 365 lineup. Office 365 Home Premium is a tremendous value, but it’s designed and priced for a family to use. Starting April 1, Microsoft is introducing Office 365 Personal for individual users who don’t need Office on five different PCs.

For $70 per year (or $7 per month), Office 365 Personal will allow a customer to install and use Microsoft Office on one Windows or Mac PC, plus one tablet. It also includes all of the other benefits of Office 365, including 20 GB of additional OneDrive cloud storage and 60 minutes per month of Skype calls. Like other Office 365 subscriptions, Office 365 Personal comes with access to the most recent version of Office as well.

Is it worth it? Well, you definitely get some solid bang for your buck. Microsoft Office Home and Student 2013 retails for $140 and only includes Word, Excel, PowerPoint, and OneNote. Microsoft Office Home and Business 2013 costs $220 and adds Outlook to the mix. Office 2013 Professional — the version you get access to with an Office 365 subscription — sells for $400 and includes a number of other applications, like Access and Publisher.

If you compare just the cost of acquiring Office 2013 Professional against what you get with the Office 365 subscription, it will take more than five years of Office 365 Personal subscriptions before you’ll spend the same $400. Office 2013 Professional is also limited to a single PC and does not include the fringe benefits of Office 365. Two or three years from now, when Microsoft rolls out the next major release of Office, that $400 investment in Office 2013 Professional will be obsolete, but the Office 365 subscription will allow you to download and install the new productivity suite so you’ll always have the most current tools available.

Honestly, most individual users don’t really need all of the tools in Office 2013 Professional. It's more practical to compare the value of Office 365 Professional against Office 2013 Home and Student or Office 2013 Home and Business. In that case, it will only take two or three years, respectively, to spend the same money on the Office 365 Personal subscription as it would cost to just buy the suite outright. Again, though, buying the Office suite only gets you a license for one PC, and it does not include the additional OneDrive storage or Skype calling minutes.

There still seems to be a lot of confusion about Office 365 among average consumers. Many people are under the impression that Office 365 is a purely cloud-based service — akin to subscribing to use just the Office Web Apps (which are actually free for anyone to use). The reality is that when you subscribe to Office 365, you're buying the same Office software as the standalone suite, you’re just paying for it a different way and gaining a number of additional features and benefits that aren’t available with the standalone product.

As a side note, Microsoft is also changing the name of Office 365 Home Premium to simply Office 365 Home. Households with multiple family members are better off signing up for Office 365 Home because it costs only $100 per year (or $10 per month). It provides all of the benefits of Office 365 Personal, but for up to five separate users. 

Which version of Office do you use and why? Let us know in the discussion thread below.

 

 

About

Tony Bradley is a principal analyst with Bradley Strategy Group. He is a respected authority on technology, and information security. He writes regularly for Forbes, and PCWorld, and contributes to a wide variety of online and print media outlets. He...

31 comments
rob
rob

OK. I work for myself. What I use in every day work is this. Word, Excel, Outlook. Visio, Project. The last two aren't even available on the Business side of Office 365. I also use multiple machines. At home (home office) I use a desktop, when on a client site it could be my Macbook or Surface. Sometimes both. And an iPad. 


Microsoft charge £475 for MS-Project 2013 Standard edition, and £237 for Visio. You can get them a lot cheaper elsewhere of course, but are they genuine?


So I'd like to be able to use these things on multiple machines. I don't have kids and my wife uses Office 2010, again rarely, and sees no reason to change so this is just for me. I'd like my emails (from multiple sources) to be aggregated in a single place (as it is now on my local copy of Outlook) 



I never use Publisher and rarely use PowerPoint (maybe once every 2-3 years) and I really can't see the point of OneNote


£80 a year for just 2 products seems a waste of money to me when I have to buy everything I really do use.

ccbackus
ccbackus

I'm debating between the Office 365 Home and Office 365 Small Business Premium.  I'm currently a solo-preneur and it doesn't seem like the business license offers me pieces I would take advantage of.  The online conferencing, presence and IM sounds interesting, but I haven't been able to find any description about what that is.  Is it just Skype with better reliability?  I'm leaning toward the Office 365 Home as I typically use a desktop and a laptop for myself, and then I could install the program for my wife and son on their machines.

gim6182
gim6182

I use Office 365 MidSize (for not a lot more) to learn SharePoint, Lync, and on-the-Cloud Active Directory and Exchange. All great! Version 2013 is so much better on Excel, Word, PowerPoint, Visio, Project. Love the flat and simple pictographic look (no bevelling). Even the smallest new features make a huge difference, like easy to select formula arguments for troubleshooting (tip: select argument, hit F9 to see partial result). And no more worrying about upgrade costs or missing out on new features. Ribbon doesn't bother me anymore (I know all the keyboard shortcuts) and I can see why they've done it. And I know Excel since 1985 when it was created for the Mac only! I cut my teeth with the Lotus 1-2-3 back-slash menu. Besides, Windows apps have the "right click"!!! Excel (dynamic) Tables are better in latest versions and the things you can do with INDEX/MATCH/COLUMN, OFFSET and SUMIFS are out of this world. IFNA and ISFORMULA are 2013 only and are great. Stay right up-to-date and you never get grumpy again.

poisson59
poisson59

First of all, "Two or three years from now, when Microsoft rolls out the next major release of Office, that $400 investment in Office 2013 Professional" will no more be obsolete than your 2013 car is obsolete when the 2014 model comes out.

As a home user, I use Office 2003 (got the Pro version as a student at student's price) and see no reason whatsoever to change to a newer version. The only confusion comes when I try to access some less used function and cannot remember where they are hidden compared to the 2007 version I use at work. Small problem.


When I will feel the need to change my Office 2003 at home, I'll be sure to check again LibreOffice, OpenOffice and Kingsoft.

Bob Rafetto
Bob Rafetto

Kingsoft or Office2003. Can't stand the ribbon and fees to upgrade.

Louise Louise
Louise Louise

Office 365 has been an absolute Savior for me - i use the professional version, i can access anywhere i want anytime i want with any of my preferred devices and everything stored - backed up in the cloud - am extremely happy with office 365 and would highly recommend 

eaglewolf
eaglewolf

"Honestly, most individual users don’t really need all of the tools in Office 2013 Professional. It's more practical to compare the value of Office 365 Professional against Office 2013 Home and Student or Office 2013 Home and Business. In that case, it will only take two or three years, respectively, to spend the same money on the Office 365 Personal subscription as it would cost to just buy the suite outright."

And what about those who do need the features?   Microsoft continues to marginalize/minimize the users who DO need real software and offer, instead, a watered-down 'consumer' version for an outrageous price.   Adding the bling doesn't help.

I have Office 2010 Pro and Win 7 Pro.   I do NOT use the cloud, nor will I - it lacks the security I need.   I also need full programs - no shortcuts.   I guess if I need something that isn't there, I'm supposed to be pacified because I can go play on Skype?   I have a much better deal on that and it doesn't require a Microsoft account to log in.

Nothing is 'practical' when you have to 'rent' it, it's not complete (otherwise the cost is prohibitive) and it's non-resident on your computer.

Ernie DeVries
Ernie DeVries

I use LibreOffice. No ribbon, and I know I'll always be able to access my own data. Much more productive than MS Office.

Hwalker1
Hwalker1

Still far too expensive, and if you are late with a payment you lose the use of your mail. Subscription services give Microsoft too much control of your facilities, whilethey still give the FBI access to your mail.

jjk308
jjk308

Ditto on LibreOffice.  For a modest donation it fills all my needs and is more compatible with my old Microsoft Works files than Microsoft Office.  In fact it seems to handle imports of all files a lot better than the Microsoft products. 


Works used to come free with Windows, the reason most of my spreadsheet and word processing files are in it.  It was a bit limited but enough for home use, and LibreOffice is a substantial step up in sophistication without the expense and problems of Microsoft Office and its file incompatibilities. 

Nathan Weber
Nathan Weber

I use LibreOffice, because it doesn't have a draconian licensing system and it doesn't have that stupid ribbon.

douglas.gernat
douglas.gernat

Bear in mind that Office365 installations of Office also require activation via account logon every 30 days, so those users subscribing solely for the software as this implies that also may have a company exchange account may

find themselves confused. Certainly aimed at the average consumer, but small business especially are already trying to utilize the subscription in this way causing licensing and SharePoint or SkyDrive/ account confusion, word of caution.

John Williamson
John Williamson

Office 365 has turned out to be a lot better than initially expected. Using it right now. (y)

t.love
t.love

Unfortunately, Office 365 is only available in Australia through Telstra, and many people avoid having anything to do with Telstra.

pbug56
pbug56

I use 365 Home on some of the PCs and smartphones in the house.  Still needs some debugging and removal of some of the cuteness that came with this version, but overall easy and effective.  I regularly use Word, Excel and Powerpoint.

soncory
soncory

Amazon actually sells this product so it gets real reviews. Take a look. They're not very good.

djo165
djo165

"There still seems to be a lot of confusion about Office 365 among average consumers."

Gee, really?  Maybe if MS would pick a name and stick with it for a few years that would help.  And stop shuffling the offerings so often.  

sheldyck
sheldyck

no, the 100$ and $70 prices are correct. if you pay lump sum, a 12 for 10 month rule applies. if you buy the dvd of pro plus it is about the same price as buying 5 years of subscription. the difference for me as a subscriber is that I'll be using whatever the current version is in that year. you'll be the proud owner of a 5 year old piece of vinyl.

carlsf1
carlsf1

No NOT interested in rented software want to own it.


Also Office 365 and Office 2013 are DOGS hate the screen, sorrry non starters for our users and company (yes I know its for singles users) Still  a NO go

jemosier
jemosier

Isn't this a lot like "hey, save money and lease a car", where you pay forever on iy as opposed to buying the car, seeing the payments end someday and still having the use of it.

Jaytmoon
Jaytmoon

For a small family to even (rent) Office 365 $70 per year is a lot when there are viable open source solutions.

AFoshee
AFoshee

Good article, but with one slight error - Office 365 Home is $120 per year (12 months x $10 = $120), not $100 per year.

Markd0811
Markd0811

I got a huge discount on Office Professional Plus 2013.

Kermit the Frog's Du
Kermit the Frog's Du

I don't know about you but I actually like the ribbon menu because it feels more easier to use and I was kinda born around the ribbon menu idea.

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