Microsoft released Office 2013 on Jan. 29; soon after, my inbox was choked with questions about the differences between Office 2013 and Office 365.
The two Offices share the major components — Word, Excel, PowerPoint, and (optionally) Outlook — but just about everything else is different.
Buy or rent: Two approaches to acquiring Office
For home users the key difference between Office 365 and standalone Office 2013 comes down to licensing. Here’s what you need to remember:
- As with all previous Offices, when you buy Office 2013, you get a license that effectively lasts forever. (As with most software, you don’t actually own your copy of Office; you buy a license to use that copy.) However, unlike earlier Office versions, that license is valid only on the one machine on which you install Office 2013. If you sell the machine, the license travels with the machine. If the machine dies, or you upgrade to a new computer, you’re SOL.
- When you pay for Office 365 Home Premium, you rent the Office 2013 programs (listed below), and you have to keep paying, year after year, to continue using them.
- The Office 2013 license lets you run one copy of the Office 2013 programs on one computer. Office 365 Home Premium’s license lets you run the Office 2013 programs on up to five PCs (or Macs) in the same household.
(For comparison, an Office 2010 Home and Student license lets you run the suite on three computers within the same household. Each copy of Office 2010 Home and Business and Office 2010 Professional can be run on two systems — essentially a primary PC and a portable device such as a laptop.)
- As in the past, if you purchase Office 2013 and want to upgrade to a newer edition (2