Microsoft Office 365 Available By Subscription
January 29, 2013

Microsoft Offers Subscription-Based Model For Office 365

Peter Suciu for — Your Universe Online

With a name like Office 365, it might seem fitting it would require a renewal after 365 days. On Tuesday, Microsoft announced Office 365 Home Premium, the latest reinvention of the company´s flagship Office product line for consumers, would feature cloud-based services and would be available as a subscription-based program.

For an annual fee of $99.99, non-corporate users can get access to all Office apps including Word, Excel, Powerpoint, OneNote, Outlook, Publisher and Access. Moreover, with this new Home Premium version, users can install the suite on up to five devices; including desktops, laptops and even the new Surface tablet. And as this is cloud-based in part, it will include 20GB of SkyDrive cloud storage and 60 free minutes for Skype calls.

“Today´s launch of Office 365 Home Premium marks the next big step in Microsoft´s transformation to a devices and services business,” said Steve Ballmer, CEO of Microsoft in a statement. “This is so much more than just another release of Office. This is Office reinvented as a consumer cloud service with all the full-featured Office applications people know and love, together with impressive new cloud and social benefits.”

The new Home Premium edition will also make it easier for Office 365 users to access documents in the cloud via a website with Office on Demand from any Internet-connected PC, even if this suite isn´t installed on a particular computer.

This latest update to Microsoft´s popular suite of Office apps will also automatically continue to stay updated. Microsoft announced it will deliver many new features and services to the cloud first as way to transform the company´s traditional three-year release cycle. New features and services for Office will stream to subscribers as soon as these are ready, and will keep subscribers up to date without the need to upgrade to the next version.

“This is a major leap forward,” said Kurt DelBene, president of the Microsoft Office Division. “People´s needs change rapidly, and Office 365 Home Premium will change with them.”

To ensure users can get the most of Office 365, the company has also unveiled its new Time to 365 website, a new crowd-sourced site that will include tips and tricks from users.

In addition, Microsoft announced the launch of Office 365 University. This set of apps is for college and university students, faculty and staff, and is available as a four-year subscription for $79.99 — or about $1.67 a month.

For those who would opt to forgo the cloud-based aspects of Microsoft Office 365, the Redmond software giant also announced the latest versions of its traditional Office Suite, which include Office Home and Student, Office Home and Business 2013, and Official Professional 2013. This comes in advance of Office 365 for businesses, which will be released on February 27.

The new off-line versions will reportedly not feature the updates from the cloud, however.

As Apple Insider noted, one key area still not getting in on the Office antics are those using iOS devices. Microsoft has a website for the mobile versions of Office for iPad and iPhone, but no software has been released to date.