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What Microsoft's Personal Plan for Office 365 Means for You

On Tuesday, Microsoft announced the availability of Office 365 Personal, a new subscription plan for Office 2013 that allows customers to pay a monthly fee for one person. This plan will cost $6.99 per month, or $69.99 per year, whichever is easiest on the wallet.

So what do you get with Office 365 Personal? The software can run on one PC or Mac, one tablet (iPad included), and on smartphones (Android, iOS, Windows). Customers also have access to online versions of Office (Word, Excel, PowerPoint and OneNote), offline storage, and 27 GB of online storage (7 GB free, 20 GB extra). Subscribers also get 60 world minutes of Skype calling per month to 60+ countries.

For customers with more than one PC or tablet, the Office Home family plan is a better deal. For $9.99 per month, customers can install Office 13 on five PCs and Macs, five tablets, and on any Android, iOS or Windows phone. Family customers also have access to the online versions of Office, offline storage, and 27 GB of online storage for each user up to five. Also thrown into this bundle is 60 world minutes of Skype calling per month to 60+ countries.

"By offering Office 365 Personal, in addition to Office 365 Home, we are better positioned to deliver the right Office to a broader range of households–whether it's an individual or a family of five. Whichever Office 365 is right for you, you'll enjoy the freedom to get work done at home, school, or on the go–on any device," reads the Office blog.

Last month, Microsoft eliminated the requirement to pay for an Office 365 plan in order to use Office on mobile phones. That means customers with and without a subscription can get Office Mobile without having to share a dime. These two plans mentioned above are not for commercial use; businesses would need to get additional licenses from Microsoft in order to be compliant.

For customers who don't want to install the software locally, there's always Office Online (formerly Office Web Apps). These versions of Word, Excel, PowerPoint and OneNote are free to use within Internet Explorer, Safari and Chrome. Even more, Word Online, PowerPoint Online and OneNote are now all offered as Chrome Apps. On the Apple front, Office is now also on the iPad.

In related news, Microsoft updated the Office blog with news of changes coming to Office Online.

"For those of you using Word Online for the creation of research papers and reports, we've simplified footnotes and endnotes—you can now simply add them inline," the blog reads. "Word Online is now smarter when it comes to list making, too. For example, when you're making a list, if you're directly below an existing numbered list and start typing, your next line automatically becomes part of the list—just like in desktop Word."

For more information about what is new with Office Online, head here.

  • Onus
    I am not interested in any product that keeps me paying, and paying, and paying, ad nauseum. That model is unacceptable. It is time for people to wake up. Most people's needs could still be met very well with productivity titles of ten or even twenty years ago.
    Reply
  • Kunari
    I am not interested in any product that keeps me paying, and paying, and paying, ad nauseum.

    I'm with you there Onus! I refuse to sign up for a software subscription
    Reply
  • spdragoo
    I am not interested in any product that keeps me paying, and paying, and paying, ad nauseum. That model is unacceptable. It is time for people to wake up. Most people's needs could still be met very well with productivity titles of ten or even twenty years ago.

    Well, some people obviously would disagree, or you wouldn't see the popularity of games like World of Warcraft (or Everquest before yet), which also work on the "pay every month" business model. Or, of course, the people that think nothing of paying to download a game app on their smartphone, then continue paying with in-app purchases.

    Personally, I don't do either: I don't play games on my iPod unless they allow me to play for free (both to download & while in-game), & I prefer one-time costs for my real software.

    However...at $70/year, the cost of paying for a 2-year subscription is roughly as much as buying the stand-alone Office 2013 Home & Student edition. And the stand-alone only lets you install on one device, not "1 PC plus 1 tablet plus 1 smartphone".
    Reply
  • spdragoo
    Whoops, hit "submit" too fast, & now it won't let me edit.

    Anyway, to continue, if I had to pay separately to install it on a 2nd device as well as my PC, then the stand-alone software becomes more expensive than the subscription model. And especially for the "family plan" model, paying $100/year, or roughly $300 total for a 3-year period, is cheaper than buying separate software for a desktop, a laptop & a tablet. The key, I guess, is whether getting the subscription gives you access to automatic upgrades whenever Microsoft changes the base product (i.e. when they switched from Office 2010 to Office 2013). If so, then the subscription model is just as cheap, if not cheaper, than buying the standalone software.

    Just something to think about.
    Reply
  • Kunari
    .... If so, then the subscription model is just as cheap, if not cheaper, than buying the standalone software.

    Oh sure, they'll make the initial pricing of the subscription plan look attractive. "It's just as cheap as buying the software" Also, most people don't upgrade when a new version of Office comes out, so that $300 cost for Office 2010 is still going strong for Joe-home-user. It's a perpetual license, Joe doesn't need to pay every month or loose access unlike the "just as cheap" subscription plan with no guarantee that they won't jack up the monthly fees next year.
    Reply
  • Onus
    A subscription model isn't unreasonable when it is paying for something, such as content upgrades (in the case of games), or ongoing "free" support (in productivity software). It should NEVER be necessary to pay for ongoing bug fixes.
    If a current version meets the user's needs "out of the box," however, a one-time payment for it should be sufficient. Remember that "stuff happens," and being bound to a subscription in order to keep a product working could lead to unexpected issues if there are ever communication problems.
    Reply
  • agentbb007
    $70 a year doesn't seem too bad, I'm signing up.
    Reply
  • spdragoo
    Who says it's only an "initial pricing" plan? This isn't like paying for cable internet, where they'll tell you how much the 'starting at" rate is for the first 12 months, but won't tell you what the actual rate will be for the remainder of your 2- or 3-year contract until after you get that first full-price bill.

    If anything, the price is actually coming down, at least in terms of the consumer's buying power. For example, when Office 97 came out 17 years, a full stand-alone cost $499 USD, $599 if it included MS Access. That got you a single CD, or 44 floppy disks, to install it from. And it was still under the "1 copy, 1 PC" license -- they just didn't have the online verification available to hlep enforce it. So even without accounting for the lower purchasing power of the dollar from 17 years ago, they were essentially paying for a seven-year subscription. And while you can still find Office 97 on Amazon (now for about $30), you really won't see anyone continuing to use it because it was designed for Windows 98; people are complaining so much about die-hards holding onto their Windows XP computers, that I really can't see anyone advocating holding onto software that predates it.

    And as for version replacement... you do remember that they only took two years to go from Office 1 (1990) to Office 3.0 (1992), from Office 4.0 (1993) to Office 95 (1995), from Office 95 to Office 97 (1997), from Office 97 to Office 2000 (1999), from Office 2000 to Office XP (2001), & from Office XP to Office 2003 (2003)? Or that it was only one year between Office 3.0 (1992) & Office 4.0? The longest gap was between Office 2007 & 2003 (4 years), with 3 years between Office 1.0 (1990) & 3.0, between Office 2007 and Office 2010 (2010), & between Office 2010 & Office 2013 (just barely in January 2013). In other words, historically speaking, the chances are good that the next MS Office version will come out in 2016...in other words, 3 years after Office 2013, but only 2 years from now.

    Now, you're probably right that someone who just bought Office 2010 a few years back can probably go without an upgrade. However, there are many people that were still using Office 2007 (which is currently only in "extended" support for a couple more years), or worse Office 2003 (which also just lost "extended" support recently). Since they will need to upgrade their versions of Office, their question becomes whether to pay for the stand-alone Office 2013 (again with the "1 copy, 1 PC" limitation), or pay for a "subscription" plan that costs them the same amount over a 2- or 3-year period but lets them load it on more devices...& will probably allow them to automatically upgrade to future versions without hassle.
    Reply
  • hannibal
    I have office 2013 now and I am planning to use it next 6-10 years. So for me normal pay ones, use as long as you will is better. But to those who always want to have the newest version, the subscription model is better.
    What I am afraid is that there will be only that later alternative in the future. Why, because it is easier to offer support only to the newest version, than multiple versions. In the long run subscription version will offer more income to the company. That is why MS has been planning the subscription model to the operation system also. So far it has not been put in practice, but it is always an option that may become reality.
    Reply
  • Zepid
    Pretty cool news. Might subscribe.
    Reply