Microsoft opened its new Office yesterday (Mac users take note also)

Last fall Microsoft said to the world — the future is here — we are a DEVICES AND SERVICES company. They weren’t joking. I explained to you before how I think they are making changes for the better. For once in our lives I think they are meeting the demands of a very diverse computer buying marketplace.

** IMPORTANT FACT: If you currently use Microsoft Office on your Windows or Mac computer — no action needs to be taken today. Your Microsoft Office (Word, Excel, Powerpoint) will work just fine. Their new Office (known as Office 365) is only applicable to your NEXT COMPUTER or if you want some of the additional programs they are offering under their new scheme. **

In the past, you bought Microsoft Office on a disc (like a DVD) and installed it on your computer. In more recent years, you may have bought your Microsoft Office as a download from Microsoft, negating the requirement for a physical disc. In any case, you installed Office on 1, 2, or maybe 3 computers depending on what you were allowed by Microsoft. A most common package for consumers — Office Home and Student (Windows or Mac) — gave you Word, Powerpoint and Excel – and could be installed on up to 3 computers. It’s cost was $150.

That old structure is a thing of the past, as of yesterday.

Here is the new scheme (and I don’t mean that in a negative sense):

1. Office 2013 Home and Student will get you ONE install on one computer for $140. Mac version is still on 2011 but will be updated by the end of the year, but basically the same pricing applies. You get Word, PowerPoint and Excel. Windows users also get a GREAT note taking program called One Note.

2. Microsoft’s main emphasis for the consumer market now is Office 365 Home Premium. It includes Office 2013 for Windows and Office 2011 for Mac. It is $99 per year. You get to install Office for Windows and or Mac on up to 5 computers!! You can change your 5 computers at any time. Need to get some work done on Aunt Betty’s computer for the weekend and she doesn’t have Office? You can temporarily authorize Office on her computer just for a couple days. There are some significant bonuses to be had from the Office 365 pricing model in addition to the fact that it can be installed on 5 computers….
– Mac users get Outlook — Microsoft’s robust e-mail, contacts and calendaring program (making this equivalent to the $200 Office for Mac Business version)
– Windows users get Outlook, Access and Publisher (making this equivalent to the $400 Microsoft Office Professional).

Summary: under the old scheme. I would say, on average, customers kept their Microsoft Office for about 4 years before they bought a new one or got a new computer . If someone uses Microsoft programs such as Access and PowerPoint — 5 copies of Office Professional would run you $2000, however 4 years of the new Office 365 Home Premium subscription would run you only $400. If you just use Word and you are a single computer user in your home — well the single license Home and Student would be best for you at a cost of $140, one time purchase.

It’s nice that Microsoft is giving you the option of the traditional pricing and the new subscription model. My final thoughts are……..
If you’ve got 3 or more computers in the home needing Office – the subscription seems like a good deal. If you’ve got at least 2 computers and you want the extra programs (like Access and Publisher), the subscription makes sense. 1 computer? Stick with the single user pricing.

Notes: Small business owners will be able to get the 5 computer Office 365 starting in February for $150 per year. University students and faculty get a slightly better deal. $80 subscription for 4 years!! You can install your Office on up to TWO windows / mac computers.