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.
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.
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 This means that Mac users who need Office now, but don’t want to risk purchasing the nearly out-of-date Office 2011, can instead opt for the subscription model in which Office 2011 will be used until the next OS X version of the suite is released.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.