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An introduction to Office 365 Should you buy the new Office business model?

Office 365 is a subscription-based suite that gives you time-limited access to a number of Microsoft software and services, including the latest Office suite for desktop, an online version of Office, cloud storage, and mobile apps. premium..

Office 365 follows a business model known as Software as a Service (SaaS), which has been commonly used to implement enterprise software. With subscription-based services like Spotify, Napster or Amazon Prime, it entered the consumer software market some time ago.

Does Office 365 provide enough value to be worth the money?

Can you still use it on your desktop??

Yes, absolutely!

Microsoft isn't moving Office entirely to the cloud just yet. While you can access Word, Excel, and PowerPoint with Office Online, don't pay for Word! 5 reasons why you should use Office Online Don't pay for Word! 5 reasons why you should use Office Online Office Online is the free, cloud-connected version of Microsoft Office. The limitations are offset by features, useful even for desktop Office users. Best of all, it's Read More read more through the browser and store your documents on OneDrive Dropbox vs. Google Drive vs. OneDrive:Which cloud storage is best for you? Dropbox vs. Google Drive vs. OneDrive:Which Cloud Storage Is Best for You? Have you changed the way you think about cloud storage? The popular options of Dropbox, Google Drive and OneDrive have been joined by others. We help you answer which cloud storage service you should use. Read More The current Office 365 suite includes the Office 2013 desktop suite (Office 2011 for Mac users). In the summer or fall of this year, you'll be able to upgrade to Office 2016.

What is included and what is the price tag?

The exact composition of the package depends on the Office flavor you choose. Office 365 Home, Office 365 Personal, and Office 365 University include the following software:

  • Word
  • Stand out
  • PowerPoint
  • OneNote (now free for everyone OneNote is now truly free with more features than before OneNote is now truly free with more features than before Evernote no longer rules the plethora of note-taking apps. Microsoft recently announced that OneNote would be freer than ever. Let Us show you what this means in terms of features and functionality. Read More)
  • panorama
  • Publisher
  • Access

All Office 365 packages include 1TB of cloud storage , 60 Skype world minutes per month , and free chat or phone-based technical support. With your Microsoft account, you also have access to Office Online, which can work with your files stored in OneDrive and Dropbox (see Office Online Dropbox integration).

Subscriptions for Office 365 Personal start at $7 per month or $70 per year. With $10 per month or $100 per year, Office 365 Home it's a bit more expensive because you can use it on up to 5 PCs or Macs, 5 tablets, and 5 phones. You can share the subscription with members of your household, bringing the price down to about $20 per person per year. Even if you share the cost with one person, you pay much less than with Office 365 Personal. Each user also gets 1TB of OneDrive storage for free. That's a fair deal!

Office 365 University , which is available to students and other users in academia, is only available as a 4-year subscription and will cost you $80 per 4-year cycle. While you can run it on 2 PCs, Macs, or tablets and 2 phones, you can't share this license, which means the price is equal to the maximum shared version of Office 365 Home, without the hassle. To me, this makes it a much better deal. Of course, you'll need to prove your eligibility, but an academic email address works.

Students and teachers, you could get an even better deal. If your school is enrolled in the Office in education program, you can get Office 365 Education for free. Students can get Microsoft Office 365 for free Students can get Microsoft Office 365 for free Starting December 1, universities that license Office Education for their faculty and staff can offer students Office 365 ProPlus for free. Read more . The plan is similar to Office 365 Home, except the license is free and cannot be shared. Plus, it comes with access to Yammer and SharePoint. Again, your email address will reveal whether or not you are eligible.

Similarly, qualified nonprofits can also get Office 365 Nonprofits for free.

All versions of Office 365 are available on both Mac and Windows. Plus, a subscription unlocks premium features in the free Office mobile apps available for Android, iPad, and Windows Phone.

Office 365 Disadvantages and Better Alternatives

Downside, it's a subscription model , which means that you have to pay a monthly or annual fee. For someone who hardly ever uses Office and doesn't need 1TB of OneDrive storage, this expense may not be worth it. If you don't want to spend that kind of money, you can choose from several free alternatives to Microsoft Office. The 7 best free Microsoft Office alternatives. The 7 best free Microsoft Office alternatives. Microsoft Office is the king of office suites, but that doesn't mean anything. I mean it's the right one for you. Here are other office suites that you might like better! Read More ? Here are some ways you can use Microsoft Office for free! Read more instead.

Even with free solutions, you'll need a Microsoft account . While this is becoming a standard for signing in to Windows, it can be annoying if you have to sign in to Microsoft Office on your desktop before you can save a file. However, if you use the same accounts for Windows and Office, this shouldn't be a problem.

If you don't want to sign up for Office 365 or deal with a Microsoft account, but you need the full Office suite, you can still buy standalone Office apps or a standalone version of Office Home &Student 2013 Microsoft Office 2013:The Unofficial Guide from Microsoft Office 2013:The Unofficial Guide If you're considering an upgrade to Office 2013, or just paid for the package and want to get the most out of it, this guide to Microsoft Office 2013 is for you. Read More

Benefits of Office 365

The key benefit of Office 365 is that it receives regular updates.

In 2015, Microsoft will release Office 2016, a new suite for Windows and Mac users. Office 365 subscribers will be able to Upgrade to Office 2016 at no additional cost . If You're an Office Power User, Update Your Skills with the Best Online Microsoft Office Courses Improve Your Skills with the Best Online Microsoft Office Courses Microsoft Office is a required skill in every office around the world. How adept are you? Massive open online courses offer everyone the training to improve anytime, anywhere. Read More. Anyone who wants to be ahead of the curve and always work with the latest features, an Office 365 subscription is a must.

But even casual users can benefit from the subscription. 1 TB of online storage for as low as $20 per year by itself is amazing. And if you frequently call people abroad, for example while travelling, one hour of free worldwide Skype calls (for more than 60 countries) can also be useful.

As mentioned above, Office 365 gives you Access to the entire Office suite. - online, on your desktop and on your mobile devices. By storing your files in the cloud, you can always Access and work with your documents, regardless of location. . And if you ever have a problem with the product, free Microsoft support it's just a chat or phone call away.

Most importantly, you don't have to spend hundreds of dollars up front for a huge software package that you end up not using very much. Microsoft offers a free trial of Office 365 for 1 month, then you can choose a cheap monthly subscription plan and cancel it at any time, in case you don't like or use it after all.

Do you subscribe to Office 365??

Microsoft is slowly changing its revenue model. Some products will be cheaper, like free Windows 10, while others may seem more expensive. You can take advantage of the additional benefits and buy the new business model, or stick with cheaper third-party alternatives. Any questions? Microsoft answers them on this FAQ page.

Your turn! What benefits of Office 365 do you enjoy the most, or why would you prefer to purchase a separate Office suite in the future? Let's discuss in the comments!