It is January 29, 2013, and the retail version of Microsoft Office 2013 is available. However, if Microsoft has its druthers, you will be subscribing to Office 2013 and not buying it in a standalone version. As with just about anything else, there are both benefits and drawbacks to each method. There are also some major differences in pricing that you will have to consider.
|Product||Office 365 Home Premium||Office Home and Student||Office Home and Business||Office Professional|
|Price||$99.99 per year||$139.99||$219.99||$399.99|
|Number of installations:||5 PCs or Macs plus select mobile devices1||1 PC||1 PC||1 PC|
|Easy annual subscription: Includes ongoing access to version upgrades, multiple device installs, and Office on Demand services||X|
|Licensed for:||Home use||Home use||Home or business use||Home or business use|
|Core Office applications: Word, Excel, PowerPoint, OneNote||X||X||X||X|
|Email, calendars, and tasks: Outlook||X||X||X|
|Publishing & databases: Publisher, Access||X||X|
|SkyDrive +20GB storage: Save documents online to your SkyDrive for easy access and sharing virtually anywhere||X|
|Personalized experience: Always have your applications, settings and documents accessible when you need them||X|
|Office on Demand2: Stream full-featured Office applications to any Internet-connected Windows PC||X|
|Skype world minutes: Find new ways to stay in touch with 60 minutes of Skype calls each month to phones in 40+ countries||X|
As you can see at a quick glance, with a subscription you get everything Office has to offer, making that choice the seemingly "best bang for your buck" choice. But are you willing to subscribe to Office?
In the next few months we will be spending lots of time examining the Office 2013 in all its incarnations, only time will tell if the subscription model will win over the enterprise market.
Mark Kaelin is a CBS Interactive Senior Editor for TechRepublic. He is the host for the Microsoft Windows and Office blog, the Google in the Enterprise blog, the Five Apps blog and the Big Data Analytics blog.