Office 2013 released: prices and features roundup

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Microsoft is finally making available today one of the most awaited piece of software: Office 2013. This time around the folks at Redmond are putting a great effort to reimagine software once again and promote a new subscription based model with Office 365, providing families, businesses, and users with multiple devices a great set of office applications at relatively good priced. Although, users will still be able to choose a standalone version of the suite, if they aren’t yet ready to jump in to the subscription wagon.

The suite is being rolled out in different packages, each one with a different set of applications, features and prices. The most noticeable change here, besides the product itself, is that in the U.S., UK and many other well-established markets, buying a boxed version of Office will not include a physical DVD as anyone would expect. Instead the software giant is simply wrapping a product code in a box, which then users have to use to download the installation files. However other countries which still emerging into the market will continue the offering of an install disc in the box.

Below is the roundup of packages available with prices and what comes included on each version:

Office 365 Home Premium

Office 365 Home Premium is the subscription based solution, it cost $99.99 per year and it grants users to install Office Professional 2013 on up to five computers (PC or Mac), which includes all the most used Office applications such as Word, Excel, PowerPoint, Outlook, OneNote, Access and Publisher. 

Additionally, users will get 60 minutes of Skype calls credit per month and 20GB of extra storage in SkyDrive (Microsoft’s cloud storage solution). For those who a yearly subscription isn’t an option, the company is also allowing people to subscribe to a month-to-month program which cost $9.99. It is worth noting that Microsoft is also providing free upgrades as part of the subscription benefit.

Office Home & Student 2013

Office Home & Student 2013 will continue as standalone suite and it is available at $139.99, but it will only bundle Word, Excel, OneNote and PowerPoint, excluding the Outlook client which is present in the subscription package. This solution only offers one license and it can only be installed on one PC — this has not really a lot of value considering the three installs that Microsoft allowed in the past.

Office Professional 2013

With the Professional version of Office users will get access to all the applications bundled in Office 365 Home Premium, but without paying a subscription and it only offers one license and it can only be installed on one PC. The price for Office Professional 2013 is $399.99.

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Office 365 Small Business Premium

Businesses are also getting a subscription model. Office 365 Small Business Premium bundles five licenses of Office Professional Plus 2013 and includes: Word, Excel, PowerPoint, Outlook, OneNote, Access and Publisher, as well as Lync and InfoPath. This solution also comes with 25GB inbox Exchange Online, shared calendar, 10GB which is in addition to the 500MB per user in SharePoint Online and website capabilities with custom domains and free upgrades to the latest version of Office as they become available. All these features have a price tag of $149.99 per user, per year.

Office Home & Business 2013

Office Home & Business 2013 is a standalone version of Office and it allows users to install Word, Excel, PowerPoint, Outlook and OneNote in one computer. This version of the suite cost $219.99.

Office On-Demand

Finally, with Office 365 for home and business, the software giant is also introducing a new on-demand version of Office. This technology works amazingly great, just sign in to Office.com from a Windows 8 or Windows 7 PC and with a simple click you can stream an application without making any changes in the host machine. Users will really benefit from this feature when they find themselves in a situation where Office isn’t available and the Web Apps doesn’t cut it for work needed.

In the video below watch Steve Ballmer, current Microsoft CEO, promoting Office 2013:

In this new version of Office, Microsoft clearly is trying to convince people to use a subscription approach. However, we’ll have to watch closely and see how users will react when they find themselves making the decision of paying an ongoing yearly subscription or if users will keep opting for the standalone version.

Office 2013 and Office 365 subscriptions are available starting today at retail and at Office.com across 162 countries around world. For more information visit Office.com.