Microsoft

Microsoft Office 2013 is now available

Microsoft wants you to think of Office as software as a service; are you ready to do that?

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.

Pricing

Here is the basic pricing and feature structure, as displayed on the Microsoft Office Product page.

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.

Also read:

About

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.

68 comments
dogknees
dogknees

I was initially interested in the subscription model for home, but if I can't work on files from work, at least according to the licence, it's of little or no use. I've just loaded it at work and IT SURE IS UGLY WITH THE ALL CAPS RIBBON TITLES & STATUS BAR MESSAGES! What madness it this?

sharpw
sharpw

What support do you get with the Subscription Version? Last summer I tried the preview version and found I could not send email in Outlook to more than one addressee at a time. There was a lot of blogs about this on the Microsoft Community Support site but no resolution. I went back to Outlook 2010 (which works fine). I'd buy the subscription if I was confident my issue was fixed and could get support for other issues.

dgeorge
dgeorge

promytius1 said: "I can get software suites free that perform as well; at worst I can spend $20 and get a fully functioning production suite equal to Office." This is fine as long as you are never sharing files with anyone or EVERYONE you share files with is using the same program. There are dozens of ways, for example, OpenOffice does not play nice with any version of Word. rciadan said: "2010 really only offered enough advantage if using Share Point" This is nonsense. I never use Share Point and used 2003 until 2010 was mature. I skipped 2007 because it was known to be buggy. There are many, many advantages in 2010 over 2003: Apparently you have never used it. It's like comparing a BMW to a Ford Pinto. I'm not convinced 2013 is worth it, regardless of the option chosen (service vs standalone).

rciadan
rciadan

Still using 2007 personally, and at the office many are still using Office XP and 2003. 2010 really only offered enough advantage if using Share Point, which is still too expensive for most, (though I would love to be able to use it where I work, but there is no way they will pay the price). I don't see any good reason to upgrade or to put my work in the cloud, with so much things being hacked these days. I faith in the security of the data is not great. Nope, no reason to spend scarce funds on needless upgrades.

promytius1
promytius1

Since when did you hire comedy writers? Oh, I mean when did M$ hire comedy writers. The notion of them performing any type of 'service' has zero appeal to me. They have yet to design and distribute an OS that works out of the box. The patches start before the issue date; I can get software suites free that perform as well; at worst I can spend $20 and get a fully functioning production suite equal to Office. The only worse source of service that I would not consider is Google - you cannot talk to anyone at Google. No one cares about you. At least M$ will respond to inquiries. So for businesses and professionals I would recommend M$ way before Google. Let's face it though, if M$ WANTS to be only a service, they will be. No one can stop them now. I would point out that they were going to be a great force in the gaming world too...

jimburnham
jimburnham

I was extremely disappointed that Access 2013 doesn't support Data Access Projects (adp) files.

Daddy Tadpole
Daddy Tadpole

Two correspondents mentioned the need to have MS Office for schools. It isn't the business of schools to advertise or impose proprietary products, particularly when there exist free alternatives which are perfectly adequate for normal educational purposes. There may be (should be?) laws about that, depending on your country. MS seem to have a pricing policy for institutions that is designed to get users hooked. I saw that at an English University a decade or so ago. Basically it would have been too much trouble for their IT department to provide an alternative, and (I'm trying to be polite) LaTeX and OOo can be frustrating. The story reminds me about driving schools that get their cars free because a fair percentage of people who pass the driving test will go for the model they learned in.

HAL 9000
HAL 9000

But that is Client related as they have to provide Tenders in .doc format not .docX which is still unreadable by any of the Government Departments yet. Not an issue for the big places with dedicated staff to write the tenders but a real issue for the smaller places who are some of my clients who do not have that type of staff and who do much more than just sit in front of a computer every day doing whatever. I currently have both 2003 & 2010 loaded and can drop into if necessary but personally yet I'm not considering 2013 for anything but Backward Licenses and loading 2003. ;) Col

Papablogger
Papablogger

i think you forgot something, which operating systems will Office 2013 work with. Windows XP? Windows 7? Windows 8? Apple Mac OS?

kiheisam
kiheisam

If you’re also trying Windows 8 Release Preview, be sure to check out the OneNote Preview in the Windows Store. Keep your notes, pictures, voice memos, and web pages in one easy to access place so you have them when you need them.

mckinnej
mckinnej

Let's face it, for 99.9% of home users, Libre or Open Office is more than adequate. They don't need to exchange documents with others and home documents are typically far less demanding than work documents. GoogleDocs will work too if they want a cloud solution. The point is MS Office is massive overkill at home. For students I guess it really depends on your school. They are a special category and they get special pricing anyway. I can see the subscription model being ideal for them. They can use it while they're in school and then jump off to Open, Libre, or Google when they're finished with school. The situation is a lot more complex for businesses. Small businesses that don't need to exchange documents with outsiders could probably get along just fine with the free stuff. It gets harder for bigger businesses or anyone that has to exchange electronic copies with clients. MS Office is the defacto standard, so you have to have it if you expect to be viewed as a professional organization. I don't see big businesses using the online version though. The big boys will use installed copies. It brings up another thought though. If you had an office of a couple hundred folks using the cloud version, how would that impact the network? Would everything slow to a crawl? Could be a hidden "gotcha".

Daddy Tadpole
Daddy Tadpole

Since most people send & receive files, it's absolutely stupid to try to get them to change software every 3 years. As stated by others, I'm sure many people will be OK with Ooo etc. These packages are still a little bit flaky in parts, and lack some basic facilities. Since government agencies are now strongly encouraged to use them, perhaps the governments in question could be persuaded to finance the finishing touches. We really must start getting ready to welcome the post-MS era.

Den Palmer
Den Palmer

What if next year, it's $199.99. What will you do then? Have to repurchase the stand alone? Pony up? You can't control the cost of a subscription.

Slayer_
Slayer_

There are too many new versions of office. We tend to wait a few years. We only recently got everyone to office 2007 from 2000. I am running 2010 on my machine because I like how outlook remembers your password of which it refuses to in 2007. 2013 offers nothing so I see no reason to upgrade.

rpeteg
rpeteg

Already purchased Office 2013 via company's HUP. $10 USD is tough to beat, and a minimal risk. So far my feeling is . . . . . meh.

mac.richterj19
mac.richterj19

I tried Office 2013 and I do like it but not as a cloud service that costs money to use via the Internet. I remember with Office 2003 Student and Teachers Edition can be used on 3 machines but now you can use it one. Very costly move to upgrade and 2007 and 2010 do the most of things that 2013 can do.

Luisribas1
Luisribas1

I am using Ms Office 2007 and 2010. both and in few past year i have used MS office 2003 also but never think about to subscribe

JaneHawkins
JaneHawkins

Every new version of Office a feature that I found really useful is removed and new unhelpful features installed. I will stick with my current Office 2010 until I am forced to do otherwise!

rolltop
rolltop

I use Word, Excel, and Access on WinXP and Win7. the 2003 and 2007 versions do everything I need, and I can move them to new hardware if necessary. Why bother spending the money.

sasteve
sasteve

I will not be getting either version. I do so few documents that Libre Office handles what ever I need.

pethers
pethers

Don't need to do either as my work has an EA agreement which gives all staff the Home Use Program for MS Office latest version. Full install for $10 thanks!

Soul--Reaver
Soul--Reaver

First get me some more reasonable prices for all of the options, then i will think about it

Prescott_666
Prescott_666

I have 2007, my wife has 2010, and were both happy. Anyway before I would shell out the money again, I would use Open Office or Libre Office.

Hazydave
Hazydave

Two problems with this. For one, the "subscription" one is only for home use. It'll save you a little money if you have a big family of Windows users, no one's using it professionally (eg, that PC isn't used to edit documents from work), and you always upgrade year to year. For single user, it's a bad deal, unless you really need the online component for some reason (eg, the free versions aren't enough). For office work, it's not an option. For many kinds of engineering offices, never has been -- we have needed an option available on Linux, Windows, and MacOS at my last two jobs, with online collaboration, and ideally these days, Android and iOS support. We're using Google Docs for the collaboration these days -- they have their own issues. And sometimes reformatting in "one's wordprocessor of choice" for a final document, to be delivered in Acrobat PDF.

GrantRowson
GrantRowson

Having used Office 2013 (word and excel in particular, and some powerpoint) for several months, I definitely WON'T go back to 2010/07. I find the new versions have added to my productivity in many ways. But, the court is still out as to whether I'll subscribe or buy. I'm still reviewing the licensing options.

NickNielsen
NickNielsen

Microsoft hasn't added anything that I need to Office since Office 97, and that's probably true for 90% of Office users. When you add in the ribbon (WHICH I'm [u]still[/u] not used to despite 6 years of use at work), there's not only no reason to upgrade, there's a strong disincentive.

j3hess
j3hess

Microsoft is proposing to turn Office into an information utility. It exercises an effective monopoly in its class. (I've tried passing documents and presentations back and forth between Word and Power Point and the Open Office apps - it doesn't work.) We've always subjected monopoly utilities to price regulations. Is it time?

mstormoen
mstormoen

For home use the subscription is a steal. I do not currently have any version of Office on any home computer. With my wife and kids all having their own computers, and the kids needing to use Office more and more for school, the subscription service makes the most sense. I do agree with donyurchuk that if you own an Office license or manage a Microsoft Office environment at work upgrading doesn't make sense. Office 2010, or even 2007, are great products and still very much usable.

RMion
RMion

Is Office 365 limited in any way if you don't have Internet access?

donyurchuk
donyurchuk

Speaking for myself and almost everyone I know, there is no need to upgrade. Office 2013 does not offer any advantages over 2010 or even Office 2007, which is my (and many, many others) choice. I use Outlook, Word, Excel and PowerPoint. Sorry Microsoft but you are totally underwhelming me with this latest cash grab.

jim.lonero
jim.lonero

Mark, you forgot to mention, which operating systems will Office 2013 work with. Windows XP? Windows 7? Windows 8? Apple Mac OS? Thanks, Jim L.

SHAMKEN@MAIL.VA.GOV
SHAMKEN@MAIL.VA.GOV

I don't believe Microsoft will make big profits off this subscription "Office". I already fave "Office" why would I buy it for a few upgrades? Plus the learning curve it just does not make scence.

TimC J A Cissel
TimC J A Cissel

and the offer was that when 2013 comes out I can upgrade for free, the offer is for either the one year sub to 365 with all the bells and whistles or the download of the new version with its limited functions. Does anyone know if the free upgrade is good for all three licenses or just one of the PCs? And if I do take it, would I be able to transfer it to a new computer if I was to replace the one(s) its installed on now?

RipVan
RipVan

If they are, then they will stay with this. If not, they will tweak it until they get the revenue stream they desire.

it
it

FYI everyone Google Apps Sync does not work with 2013. If you are like my organization we use that on every PC and they are currently running 2010 perfectly. So be advised this my not be a good option out of the gate until google catches up. Last time when 2010 came out, google took 3 months to address the issues of compatibility.

PhotoGene47
PhotoGene47

I misread the package and see that it does offer everything. For this price, I will opt to go with the subscription model.

PhotoGene47
PhotoGene47

This subscription offer does not make much sense to me. With Adobe, for example, if you subscribe, you get their whole CS package. True, it is more expensive but that is cheaper than buying it all up front every two years if you use the whole package. With Microsoft, you get a basic package. It does not include the complete Office package [Access is not included, for example]. They have only one option which, IMHO, is short-sighted. That is one of the reasons I will opt for the standalone package ($400).

Voaraghamanthar
Voaraghamanthar

I've been waiting for this for a long time as a Project Coordinator of IT/IS Departments. This is exactly what anyone who does contract work needs.

dogknees
dogknees

I hadn't discovered this little "feature". So, what do I use to maintain the code in my adp projects?

dogknees
dogknees

Then why would they need the applications at all. You only need them if you're going to modify the content. Use a free viewer.

richardtemps
richardtemps

If you're still not used to the ribbon after using it for 6 years, you are either lying or incompetent. Yes it was quite an adjustment back when it was brand new, but those who took the time to learn it found it made much more sense, especially if you're using multiple office programs. It was organized far better and much easier to access the same features across the different applications.

dogknees
dogknees

You can't exchange parts on Fords and Chevrolets. It's the same thing as not exchanging documents between products. If you lock yourself into a vendor by your earlier decisions, that's your problem not Microsoft's. Choices have consequences and you don't get to hand off responsibility for them to someone else. Everyone seems to have this strange idea that software companies shouldn't work like other industries. That there should be monopolies, that there should be a dominant technology that everyone agrees on,... It's like any other product. There are all sorts of manufactured objects that only work with other products from the same vendor. You choose your vendor and work within their system. Or, you switch to another vendor and replace EVERYTHING. This is the norm. Part of being successful in business or in life is making smart choices, making poor choices costs, as it should.

richardtemps
richardtemps

Office 2013 works with Windows 7 and up. And the mobile version works on windows Phone 7.5 and up. And they also work on Mac. I don't know what the oldest version of MacOS it supports, but if you have a newer Mac you can use them. Windows XP will not be supported.

richardtemps
richardtemps

It's not really "a few upgrades". They have actually added a lot of new features, this all in addition to the now touch optimized interface. If you're still working on a desktop then you probably don't need it unless you want the new features...but if you're planning to use office on a tablet (Surface Pro?) then it's definitely worth it.

kiheisam
kiheisam

This should work by changing your licence subscription in the admin panel.

kiheisam
kiheisam

Is part of the package you don't get Sharepoint and Lync.

richardtemps
richardtemps

365 comes with Word, Excel, PowerPoint, Outlook, Access, Publisher and OneNote... Where did you see that you don't get Access?

NickNielsen
NickNielsen

- I don't use Word on a daily basis and haven't since 2005, well before the release of the ribbon. - I don't use multiple office programs in my work, but I do use multiple technical programs. - I don't generate documents that others need to edit/review/mark up/share/whatever. My primary job function is to repair PCs, printers, and other electronic what-have-you. Most of the OEM documents I work with are already PDF-formatted. For those that aren't (mostly .doc and .docx files), I use Word long enough to print them to PDF. And because Microsoft has (so far) been kind enough not to eff with the shortcut keys, I don't usually need the ribbon for that.

HAL 9000
HAL 9000

Not all are using it all day every day of their working lives some of us only drop into Office 2007 or newer on very rare occasions for our work so why should you know it after 6 years under those circumstances? Sure a Secretary who uses it all day every day would have to know it after 6 years but not all of us are that person. I found it funny how the staff here complained bitterly about having Word Perfect on their systems when they started but now they are the ones who complain when they have to use office anything and they all hate having to drop back into any of the Office Products with the possible exception of Outlook which is still used as the default Mail Browser. But simply if we need a Word Processor we use WP X5 not Microsoft Office anything. ;) Col