MS adds more options to Office 365 Home Premium

Woody Leonhard

No matter how you measure it, Office 365 Home Premium has defied the odds and become a surprising success.

This quick overview of Microsoft’s for-rent Office suite for home users tells why — and reveals new features available to you any day now.

For years, individual PC users (including yours truly) have resisted software-for-rent — or, as publishers prefer to call it, “Software as a Service.” But in less than a year, Microsoft has succeeded in changing many users’ minds with its Office 365 Home Premium (site). Microsoft claims that it has sold two million licenses since its subscription-based Office suite was released early this year. (For more on buying versus renting Office, see the Feb. 14 Woody’s Windows column, “Software SmackDown: Office 2013 vs. Office 365.”)

And the pace appears to be accelerating — for good reasons. Surprisingly, Microsoft priced Office 365 Home Premium reasonably and bundled it with some worthwhile extras.

For U.S. $99 per year, individuals and “family” groups can purchase a single subscription and load the suite on as many as five systems. (You can have a mix of PCs and Macs, though Mac users get fewer apps.) The only catch: it can’t be used for business purposes. For comparison, for-purchase Office licenses cost:

  • $120 to $140 for a single-license copy of Office Home and Student 2013
  • $180 to $220 for Office Home and Business 2013 (which includes Outlook)
  • $380 to $400 for Office Professional 2013 (adds Access and Publisher)

You can do the math.

What, exactly, do you get with Office 365?

Given the just-mentioned flavors of Office 2013 offered, you might wonder what bells and whistles Microsoft included in Office 365 Home Premium. The short answer: it covers all the bases. You get the latest versions of Word, Excel, PowerPoint, OneNote, Outlook, Publisher, and Access, all running on your computer — not sitting up in the cloud.

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Woody Leonhard

About Woody Leonhard

Woody Leonhard is a Windows Secrets senior editor and a senior contributing editor at InfoWorld. His latest book, the comprehensive 1,080-page Windows 8 All-In-One For Dummies, delves into all the Win8 nooks and crannies. His many writings tell it like it is — whether Microsoft likes it or not.