Microsoft Office 2013 and Office 365 have arrived and are available to the general public with a brand new license model. Microsoft has, for many years, been rumored to be switching to a subscription model for their office suite. 2013 is the year. Office 365 is their subscription product (but you still get to install it on your computer; it’s not cloud-only like Google Apps), and Office 2013 is their traditional single-user product. Both versions are the same software; Office 365 is simply the subscription model of Office 2013.
Office 365 Home Premium includes access to Word, Excel, PowerPoint, OneNote, Outlook, PowerPoint, and Access, and lets you install it on up to five computers. Office 365 natively works on both Windows and MacOS (PowerPoint and Access not available on Mac), and includes 20gb of SkyDrive storage space and 60 minutes of Skype calling per month (in case you missed the news, Microsoft now owns Skype). On top of that, Office 365 Home Premium gives you access to an online version when you’re away from your computers. This will set you back $99 per year, or $9.99 per month. Or try it free for one month.
Office 2013 is their non-subscription product, but they are making that less attractive by permitting it to be installed on only one computer (in Office 2010 you were able to install and activate on two computers). Price for Office 2013 starts at $139 for a single-user license for Microsoft Office 2013 Home and Student. Also available are single-user Office Home and Business, as well as single-user individual stand-alone modules (Word, Excel, Outlook, etc).
Reviews on the new design of Office 2013 are mixed. One clear change is the dumbing down of the ribbon, removing color and trying to focus the user on their work instead of on the toolbar. Several different versions available. If you’re thinking of upgrading, try the free 30-day trial of Office 365 and then decide.