MS Office 2013: Will Subscriptions Be a Hit? - InformationWeek
Government // Enterprise Architecture
12:18 PM
Connect Directly

MS Office 2013: Will Subscriptions Be a Hit?

Newest version of Microsoft's productivity suite will soon be generally available, complete with a new five-device pricing model.

Microsoft Office 2013: 10 Best Features
Microsoft Office 2013: 10 Best Features
(click image for larger view and for slideshow)
When Microsoft announced its earnings for the most recent fiscal quarter, the news included a downtick in profits derived from the company's Office suite, which has traditionally been a revenue juggernaut. The product line's latest version, Office 2013, expected to become available as soon as Tuesday, is likely to reverse this recent downward trend. Mobile workers are among those most likely to benefit from an upgrade, but the big story could be the degree to which customers embrace Microsoft's new emphasis on subscription-based licenses.

Though full retail access hasn't yet materialized, Office 2013 has been available to certain businesses since November, and consumers have likewise had access to a preview edition for months. Microsoft has been offering upgrade options to those who recently purchased earlier versions of Office.

Those who haven't yet sampled the upgrade will find a variety of enhanced features, many related to mobility and collaboration, to sway their decision making. Touch-based commands have been integrated, for example, with tweaks including not only support for various gestures but also icons that have been resized to making tapping easier.

[ Office could face an uphill battle to win over traditionalists. Read Office 2013: Is Microsoft Out Of Touch? ]

Collaborators also have more options to simultaneously edit documents via SkyDrive or SharePoint. Other notable upgrades include: Lync's support for HD video conferences that concurrently display all participants; Word's ability to reformat PDFs as editable documents; and Excel's refined data analytics tools such as Flash Fill, which recognizes user patterns and attempts to fill cells appropriately.

As important as the new tools and capabilities are, Microsoft's new license model might be the most significant change for longtime Office users. Although ostensibly intended to push consumers toward subscription and cloud-based models, the new pricing structure will continue to include standalone purchases. The Home and Student edition of Office 2013, for example, will run $139.99 and includes Word, Excel, PowerPoint and OneNote. Those who need Outlook will have to shell out $399.99 for the Home and Business Plus edition. Office Professional Plus 2013 will run $499.99.

The standalone options, though, will offer only one license for one machine. Subscription users will be able to run Office on five devices. The subscription model is further differentiated by its inclusion of various cloud-based services, such as an on-demand feature that allows the user to temporarily stream an Office product to a computer and then remove locally stored files when his or her work has been completed. Subscription customers also are entitled to upgrades to the newest versions of the suite, something standalone buyers won't have access to. Microsoft said subscription licenses will start at $99.99 annually for the Office 365 Home Premium edition, and at $149.99 for the Small Business Premium edition.

The motivation behind Office 2013 and its integration into Office 365's cloud infrastructure is "to get everyone working more efficiently," said Aamir Shah, senior cloud business manager at En Pointe Technologies, in an interview. Shad said En Pointe worked with Microsoft on an early onboarding program and that he expects new customers to take notice of Office 2013's social media aspects and its ability to facilitate collaboration outside a traditional office setting. With more employees working from home, he said, simple screen-sharing, messaging and video chat options will allow more businesses to reduce overhead while keeping employees engaged and productive.

He also suggested customers will grow to enjoy Microsoft's subscription-based model. "You want to have the ability to work on the latest and greatest," he said.

Mobile applications are the new way to extend government information and services to on-the-go citizens and employees. Also in the new, all-digital Anytime, Anywhere issue of InformationWeek Government: A new initiative aims to shift the 17-member Intelligence Community from agency-specific IT silos to an enterprise environment of shared systems and services. (Free registration required.)

We welcome your comments on this topic on our social media channels, or [contact us directly] with questions about the site.
Comment  | 
Print  | 
More Insights
Newest First  |  Oldest First  |  Threaded View
User Rank: Apprentice
2/1/2013 | 6:46:49 AM
re: MS Office 2013: Will Subscriptions Be a Hit?
That's not entirely true. Un-install from your old machine, install on the new one, and then do a "phone call" activation rather than an automated Internet activation. Discuss your situation with the Activation team when you call and they will help you get it done.
Verdumont Monte
Verdumont Monte,
User Rank: Apprentice
1/31/2013 | 8:38:23 PM
re: MS Office 2013: Will Subscriptions Be a Hit?
Frankly, Office 2013 is a "Devolved" product in Office series. It kind of provides the same functionality of Office 2010 , for a higher price. MS wants you to subscribe to a monthly subscription model, without making the costs reasonable. TCO of O2K13 over 5 years will be ridiculous. No one would be willing to pay that much for home use. One could very well use the LibreOffice, if all needs to be done are simple spreadsheets, basic word processing. BTW, MS Office supports ODT format, so people should start looking in to these unwanted proprietary softwares, and see if they can replace it with free open source software.
User Rank: Apprentice
1/30/2013 | 11:18:35 PM
re: MS Office 2013: Will Subscriptions Be a Hit?
Hardy anyone talking about Office 2013 Standalone versions bothers to point out the biggest most important change. It is NON-Transferable.
Once installed it is locked to that machine.

Folks who purchase a standalone version who upgrade their machine, or replace it regardless of why, will need to purchase anther copy.

I purchased a new Dell desktop in November. I wanted to move my Office 2010 to it. Because I was out of warranty Microsoft said I needed a premium support call. $99.00 Cheap compared to buying another copy of Office 2010 Pro.

BUT with Office 2013 and the new rules I would be told "Sorry it is not transferable buy another copy".

When I do need to upgrade, since I use my copy of Office for "commercial use" I won't be able to get "Office 365 Home Premium", which is ONLY for non commercial use.

I figure a lot of people will get burned and a percentage will move to Office alternatives. How large a percentage? Will Microsoft Office go the way of WordPerfect?

Often the same folk that a year or two ago would not consider anything but "Real" Office, regardless of what features they needed, are now eager to find alternatives. The difference? Now they are using the iPad or an Android tablet .

For the rest of us, if we need "Real" Office it will be one form of Office 365, like it or not.

The good news about Office 365 is the subscription model will ENCOURAGE folks to look at alternatives. But if the alternative will cost you an hour or two a month troubleshooting formatting or the like, well then Office 365 will cost less.

User Rank: Author
1/29/2013 | 2:11:45 PM
re: MS Office 2013: Will Subscriptions Be a Hit?
I am not sure that enterprise IT wants software subscriptions, but they do want new and enhanced features. It will be interesting to see the breakdown in the ways people acquired this software six months or a year down the road.
Paul Travis, InformationWeek
Thomas Claburn
Thomas Claburn,
User Rank: Author
1/29/2013 | 12:56:38 AM
re: MS Office 2013: Will Subscriptions Be a Hit?
Agreed. Everyone wants you to subscribe to something these days. Subscriptions are something I try to avoid as much as possible.
User Rank: Apprentice
1/28/2013 | 7:44:48 PM
re: MS Office 2013: Will Subscriptions Be a Hit?
I don't think I would every "subscribe" to Office. And frankly, Office 97 is about the only version you every really need. Until it's an Andriod/iOS app it will continue to be an upgrade no one really needs. But hey! It's priced to move, right?
User Rank: Strategist
1/28/2013 | 7:18:26 PM
re: MS Office 2013: Will Subscriptions Be a Hit?
Open Office is plenty good for my needs and it's free legally. And while a tad simplistic, Google docs is also free to the home user. I understand why Microsoft wants me to subscribe, I just don't understand why Microsoft thinks I WOULD subscribe. If MS has a case to make in this regard, I don't recall hearing it.
Register for InformationWeek Newsletters
White Papers
Current Issue
Top IT Trends for 2018
As we enter a new year of technology planning, find out about the hot technologies organizations are using to advance their businesses and where the experts say IT is heading.
Twitter Feed
Sponsored Live Streaming Video
Everything You've Been Told About Mobility Is Wrong
Attend this video symposium with Sean Wisdom, Global Director of Mobility Solutions, and learn about how you can harness powerful new products to mobilize your business potential.
Flash Poll