Microsoft launches Office 365 as a subscription service

Office 365 Home Premium, which includes such familiar programs as Microsoft Word, Excel, PowerPoint, OneNote and Access, will be offered with a yearly subscription fee. Instead of buying Office flat-out as you did in the past, you will pay a $99.99 annual charge, which buys you automatic software updates, 20GB of extra storage on SkyDrive (Microsoft’s Cloud storage service), 60 Skype world minutes and use of all the Office programs on up to five computers or tablets.

This new apps are relegated to Windows devices specifically, but the service is available for Mac users – initiating a subscription gives you access to the Office 2011 apps which have been around for a while, and, presumably, new versions as they are released. The company continues to offer Office standalone software, as well. There’s a small business edition that costs $150 instead.

This comes almost a year after Adobe launched Creative Cloud, providing access to its Creative Suite applications via a monthly subscription fee, rather than charging a huge sum up front for a software license.

Editor’s note: Explained that the service is available for Macs, which use older software.

  • EzraWard

    It’s not Windows only. If you get a subscription, Office 2011 (and later the new Office for Mac) is included. You can install on any combination of Macs and PCs.

    • Peter Cohen

      Yeah, I should have been more precise about that – the service is available, but it’s older software. I made a change.

      • EzraWard

        Awesome, just wanted to clear that up. Some of the subscriptions will also give access to Android and iOS versions of the software(if/when released), presumably.

        These subscriptions look to be really good deals especially if you get access to all the apps and perpetual updates. Still, they may need to sweeten the deal a bit more through more online features or some other way.

  • Will

    Funny how the long standing joke of Microsoft giving things unnecessarily convoluted names continues.

    Could have called it Microsoft Office 365; simple, clean. Instead they go for Microsoft Office 365 Home Premium Edition; lol.

  • That’s not bad for ~$8.33/mo but in the long run you’re losing after 18 months (that’s $150). This is awesome for Microsoft and great for users to get Office for cheap initially but if they keep taking 2 years to release…you just lost $50 on the subscription.