Microsoft has taken the wraps off the latest version of its flagship productivity software with the launch today of its new Office and Office 365 Home Premium for consumers.
Billed as a reinvention of the company’s flagship Office product line, Office 365 Home Premium is a subscription service which includes the latest and most complete set of Office applications and works across up to five devices, including Windows tablets, PCs and Macs. It also comes with extra SkyDrive storage and Skype calling for approximately R750 for an annual subscription, the equivalent of R62 per month.
“This isn’t just another version of Office. This is Office reinvented as a consumer cloud service,” said Uriel Rootshtain, head of the Office business at Microsoft South Africa. “The reality of today is that people live life on-the-go and they need their ideas and information to go with them to keep up with the demands of everyday life. Office 365 Home Premium gives users the flexibility to do things how and when they want – whether at home, school, work or anywhere in between.”
Microsoft will now deliver many new features and services to the cloud first, transforming the company’s traditional three-year release cycle. Now, new features and services stream to subscribers as soon as they are ready, keeping subscribers always up to date while eliminating the hassles of upgrading.
Independent technology analyst Steven Ambrose said the new Office was “a significant step forward” for Microsoft, and its changing of the Office paradigm showed the company is fully embracing and engaging the cloud computing revolution.
“The new Office is available in standalone packages, but more significantly is available in a subscription basis for consumers as well as business. Due to many factors, not least the fact that Microsoft Office home and small business users have no experience in buying a subscription-based software service, the uptake of the new Office may initially be heavily biased toward the traditional standalone package,” said Ambrose.
However, Ambrose believes sales of Office 365 Home Premium will take off significantly later in 2013, once the benefits are fully understood. “Consumers are starting to understand cloud delivered services, with the rapid increase in availability of entertainment offerings such as Simfy, and more recently iTunes,” he said.
For users who still prefer the traditional method of installing software on their machines, the company also released updated versions of the traditional Office suite: Office Home and Student 2013, Office Home and Business 2013 and Office Professional 2013. There is also an Office 365 University version for students, faculty, and staff, at a price of approximately R750 for a four-year subscription. Office 365 for businesses will be released globally with new capabilities on February 27th.
To help people find more time to do the things they want, Microsoft is introducing Time to 365 (http://www.office.com/timeto365), a new crowd-sourced website where people can find and share tips, tricks, ideas and inspiration from around the world. Contributors include experts such as “techorating” pro Janna Robinson and everyday working parents who have found ways to simplify their lives. Tips on the site include, for example, an idea for organizing your grocery list with OneNote on your phone, a pointer on how to pick the right-sized TV for your living room and ways to use Office applications to help plan a child’s birthday party.
People can learn more about Office 365 Home Premium or try it free for 30 days at http://www.office.com
About Office 365 Home Premium
Office 365 Home Premium includes the following:
- The latest and most complete set of Office applications: Word, Excel, PowerPoint, OneNote, Outlook, Publisher and Access
- One license for the entire household to use Office on up to five Windows tablets, PCs or Macs, and get Office on Demand from any Internet-connected PC
- An additional 20 GB of SkyDrive cloud storage, three times the amount available with a free SkyDrive account
- 60 free Skype world calling minutes per month
- All future upgrades so you always use the latest time-saving technology