Friday, May 10, 2013

Office 365 Home Premium

I'm currently evaluating Office 365 Home Premium, Microsoft's newest subscription-based service that provides on-demand use of the Microsoft Office Platform. Like most people, I have a continuous love-hate relationship with Microsoft Office - its one of those key software that you can't live without because everyone else in your circle (professional or personal) uses it one way or another.

But with the introduction of free, SaaS-based alternatives (like Google Drive and Zoho), the needs for an office suite have been simplified (just need basic formatting or cell based computations, and the like), not to mention how bloated Microsoft Office has become through its various iterations. In my case, after moving full time to a Mac in '07, the only Office app that seems relevant to my needs is Excel. But since my daughter and I are in school (she in Grade School while I in Graduate School), the need to use Microsoft Office came back (and I don't need to use it for commercial use).

So that put me in a pinch - I needed to get Office but didn't want to pay for a perpetual license (its really expensive). So when Office 365 came out, I looked at how much it would cost me and it seemed reasonable enough to try it out.

Office 365 Home Premium costs P350/month or P3,500/year. It's up to you if you want to pay monthly or pay the full year - you can do this online. You can also avail the first month of use for free but you need to put in your credit card credentials. 

For the subscription cost, it seems reasonable - you get all Office 365 applications (Word, Excel, PowerPoint, Access, Outlook, Publisher and OneNote) that can be installed in 5 computers (be it a PC or Mac). Plus you get additional SkyDrive online storage (20GB) and 60 minutes worth of Skype international calls every month. I think the bonus Skype minutes here made the difference. I always make a lot of international calls and since the minutes can be used to a fair number of countries, this subscription seems to be a good deal. Since Office 365 is a subscription that means all future versions of Office 365 will be included as long as your subscription is active.

But the Office 365 deal becomes sweeter if you're involved in Higher Education (be it as a student, faculty, school staff, etc.). Microsoft offers Office 365 University - its packaged the same as Home Premium except its only for 2 computers - but will only cost you $80 for a 4-year subscription. So that's only $20/year. But your school should be accredited by Microsoft. I'm keen on moving to Office 365 University because that seems to be most ideal package for me at the moment.