While Office 2013 has already gone on sale, Microsoft has pulled back the covers on Office 365 which offers a Home Premium suite of Office applications for $100 a year. For the $100 fee, or $8.33 per month (but don't be fooled, you can't pay it monthly), this will allow you to run the product on up to 5 machines.
If you are wondering what all you will receive for your $100, the following is a breakdown of the core features of the package:
- The latest and most complete set of Office applications – Word, Excel, PowerPoint, Outlook, OneNote, Access and Publisher
- An additional 20 GB of SkyDrive cloud storage, nearly three times the amount available with a free SkyDrive account
- 60 free Skype world calling minutes per month to call mobile phones, landlines or PCs around the world
- Future upgrades, so you always use the latest time-saving technology
The product will be available in 162 countries and should fill the needs for most consumers. It's clear that Microsoft is positioning Office 365 as its preferred consumer platform and wants to push Office fully into the software as a service (SAAS) with its subscription model. Seeing as the Office Suite is updated every 3-4 years, you will likely end up paying $300-400 for the product over its lifetime.
For Microsoft, running Office as a subscription model will help to improve cash flow for the company. As Office will now be generating cash flow from each consumer on an annual basis, instead of a single injection of capital, it may appease investors as long-term outlook becomes more sustainable with a solid cash-flow statement.