I’m currently testing out Microsoft Office 365. What makes this so different than the other Office suites is that it’s a subscription based program. And although I could buy the Office suite on disc, it seems many companies are shifting to cloud-based computing.
Many programs are shifting to this format, thereby, preventing people from pirating the software. A rumor says that Microsoft’s Windows 10 will be cloud based. Photoshop also offers their own ‘in-the-cloud’ version of software.
And what’s a cloud? Not the fluffy stuff in the sky. Services such as Dropbox, Google Drive, and Microsoft’s Skydrive are cloud drives, enables users to sign in and store their files on a virtual drive in ‘the cloud’.
So is Office 365 cloud based? Not exactly. It links to Skydrive to backup created documents, and you can user the office suite offline. It is, however, subscription based, which means once your time is up, you can no longer use the program. (Unless you purchase the disc and program outright at a higher, up front cost)
There are benefits but also cons to this;
- Subscriptions vary between $5.00 – $15.00 a month. You can upgrade or downgrade between plans, depending on what services and features you want included.
- Your programs are always updated. You will always have the current software.
- The cost, although listed as month, the business version gets paid annually. The non-business is a low monthly fee which might be affordable for some.
- You can work offline, with sync features to Skydrive.
- You work syncs with Skydrive, Microsoft’s cloud drive service. This includes 7 gigabytes of storage, and you can earn more.
- With the one subscription, you can use on multiple computers. Although, it could be argued you can do this with the disk based program; the licensing, however, is pretty clear that you’re supposed to have it only on one or two systems. This multi-user is for someone like me with a tablet and laptop, and other computers. You can also install on iPhone, iPad, Windows phone, and more.
- You can get a month trial version to try it out.
- Cost varies between subscription plans, between student, home business, or office professional, and you should bear in mind the number of licenses that comes with the price. Buying Office that installs in disc (and not a subscription) runs between $139-$399, or you can purchase a subscription $99-$180 a year, but provides you with multiple installations, and multiple users.
- The download is buggy, at least for me. I had issues with downloading and installing. Fortunately, I know technology, but I can see this causing issue for those who are less savvy.
- Its confusing what plan includes what. For some, this might be a good thing- after all, you get so many choices. One of which is Lync, for video conferences, but not all plans include this feature. Read thoroughly before purchase. (Google+ hangouts seem to do pretty much the same thing but for free)
- Office 365 works only with Windows 7 on up, or Mac OS X and up.
I’ll be including tips and tutorials for this version, but other versions as well.
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