Microsoft Launches Office 365 Subscriptions for Windows and OS X

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Microsoft today launched its new Office subscription model pricing alongside the latest version of the company’s productivity suite, Office 2013. While Office 2013 runs only on Windows, the subscription model implemented by Microsoft is available to both Mac and Windows users, giving Mac subscribers access to the latest OS X edition of the software, Office for Mac 2011.

Office 365 Subscription

The new subscription model was first detailed by Microsoft in September, and represents the Redmond software giant’s attempt to move users from irregular expensive Office software purchases to a lower cost, but monthly or yearly, subscription.

Subscriptions will target different demographics, with versions for home users, businesses, and students. Microsoft’s most prominently advertised version is Office 365 Home Premium, which is available for $99.99 per year or $9.99 on a monthly basis.

Office 2013 Chart

The Home Premium version gives users access to Office desktop applications on up to five computers, including Word, Excel, PowerPoint, and Outlook (PC users also get OneNote and Access, which are not available on the Mac), along with cloud syncing of data and settings, 20 GB of storage on Microsoft’s SkyDrive, and 60 minutes of international Skype calls per month.

Office 365 University provides all the benefits of Home Premium at a lower price for college students. An eligibility check is required, but once approved students will pay $79.99 total for four years, with an option to renew once for an additional four years if students are pursuing degrees that take longer than four years.

A business version will also soon be available, but Microsoft has stated that it will not launch until February.

Users on both OS X and Windows will receive free updates to future versions of Office products during their subscription period. This means that Mac users who need Office now, but don’t want to risk purchasing the nearly out-of-date Office 2011, can instead opt for the subscription model in which Office 2011 will be used until the next OS X version of the suite is released. At that time, all current subscribers will gain access to the new applications as part of their subscription fee.

Those who purchased the standalone version of Office 2011 for Mac between October 19, 2012 and April 30, 2013 can also create a one-year Office 365 subscription for free.

While many Mac users have found alternatives to Microsoft’s productivity suite, those who still need or prefer Office may find value in the new subscription pricing, especially if there is a need to install Office on multiple computers. With one subscription, a household with a mix of up to five PCs and Macs can run the latest available version of Office on each one.

Interested users can subscribe now at Microsoft’s Office site or sign up for a free 30-day trial.

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While most of us here at TMO long ago abandoned regular use of Microsoft Office in favor of Apple’s iWork and other great OS X apps, the new subscription pricing seems competitive considering the benefits of free upgrades and online syncing. For those who need Office, a 365 subscription might be the way to go.

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Having gone through several years of Cloud Computing failure with my company, I am not overly enthusiastic about the trend toward subscription-based applications. My AT&T DLS is not stable enough for me to trust my workflow to a subscription-based application. One of my clients uses Comcast, which has had several outages in the recent weeks. With subscription-based applications, they would not have been able to work during the outage.

I primarily use Adobe Creative Suite for my business and Adobe is pushing subscriptions as well. Until we have reliable, affordable HIGH SPEED internet connections and WiFi readily accessible in all areas, I’m keeping with the status quo. Subscription-based applications benefit the developer not the user.

Lee Dronick

“I primarily use Adobe Creative Suite for my business and Adobe is pushing subscriptions as well.”

We need a PhotoShop killer, one that we can buy in the App Store, Illustrator too.


I’m actually using the Creative Cloud subscription program, taking advantage of the upgrade option last year. It has worked out VERY well for me. If I needed Office, I’d take advantage of this, but I rarely need more than Google Docs/OpenOffice/TextEdit.


“We need a PhotoShop killer, one that we can buy in the App Store, Illustrator too.”

I doubt we’ll ever see a “PhotoShop killer.” But there are several good apps that come close, especially if you combine RAW developers with Image manipulation.

Pixelmator is good. Combine that with RAW Developer or RAW Image Processor and you’ve got a good start.

There are other vector graphic programs that work pretty well, too.

We’ve more choices than we once had. But yes, Adobe is too big. But so is Apple. Ha.

Bob Lieberman

“While most of us here at TMO long ago abandoned regular use of Microsoft Office in favor of Apple’s iWork and other great OS X apps…”

I’m happy for you. I am a dedicated Mac user and I user my Mac for business, where I deliver large requirements documents to clients. I also collaborate, using tracked changes, with other colleagues who use Word.

I am also an expert Pages user. And I’ve found that import/export to Word from Pages, really isn’t good enough to collaborate and deliver in the Office world. There are just too many incompatibilities, which are multiplied after each export/import cycle.

This is a sore point for me, and I’m very disappointed in Apple. Not to mention that these functions haven’t really improved in Pages for several years. Pages is a far superior product and I would like to never need Word. But we’re not living in that world now, I’m sorry to say.

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