Microsoft has announced the availability of a new cloud-based version of Office for consumers. Experts debate whether the company will be successful in convincing home users to pay $100 per year for a subscription when they have been used to a one-time fee.
ZDNet's Ed Bott reported, "Microsoft’s slow, rolling launch of its latest version of Office continues today with the release to the public of Office 365 Home Premium and Office 2013 Home & Student. Effective immediately, Office 365 Home Premium will be available in 162 markets and in 21 languages, with a subscription price in the U.S. of $99.99 per year.... Today’s news is all about availability. None of the details of the Office 365/Office 2013 packages have changed substantially since last summer, when the hybrid releases of desktop software with subscription services went into public previews."
The Washington Post's Hayley Tsukayama added, "With a Home Premium 365 subscription, users have five installation codes, so they can put the program on multiple computers in their home and at the office. They also get 20 GB of cloud storage on the company’s SkyDrive service, meaning they can access documents from anywhere, and an hour of free Skype international calls per month. The suite includes Word, Excel, PowerPoint, Outlook, OneNote, Publisher and Access."
Bill Rigby from Reuters observed, "Two and a half years in the making, the new Office is designed to counter the growing popularity of Google Apps, a collection of online-only, Office-style applications Google provides free for home users and sells to businesses for $50 per user per year. Microsoft is hoping its move into online services, alongside its new Surface tablets, pushes it back into the forefront of mobile computing, which has been led by Google's Android software and Apple's combination of slick hardware and apps."
Wired's Alexandra Chang noted, "If you don’t have multiple devices, or aren’t interested in the subscription model, Microsoft is offering traditional one-time Office 2013 purchase options. Traditional Home and Student costs $140, Home and Business costs $220, and Professional costs $400 for one install that never expires. Still, the emphasis is on Office 365 subscription services. All of Office’s advertising investment will go toward pushing Office 365, Microsoft senior marketing manager Chris Schneider told Wired."