Microsoft has finally started selling the new Office 365 Personal plan, and there’s nothing wrong with it.
But when you start comparing the productivity options currently available, Office 365 Home is a significantly better deal.
What’s in the Office 365 Personal plan?
Microsoft announced at the beginning of March a new Office 365 plan aimed at individuals, and now the Office 365 Personal plan is available for would-be subscribers.
There’s nothing wrong with Office 365 Personal. For $70 per year, or $7 per month, an Office 365 Personal subscriber gets the current version of the Microsoft Office productivity suite for one Windows or Mac PC and one tablet. In addition, a subscriber gets 20GB of extra storage on Microsoft’s OneDrive cloud storage service and 60 minutes per month of Skype calls that can be used in more than 60 countries around the world.
Office 365 gives you a locally installed copy of Office Professional 2013. Purchasing Office Pro will set you back $400, and that license is valid only for a single PC — plus you don’t get any extra OneDrive storage or Skype calls.
Microsoft also recently launched Office for iPad. The native iOS versions of Word, Excel, and PowerPoint can be downloaded from Apple’s App Store for free, but the apps have limited functionality unless you’re an Office 365 subscriber. Without an Office 365 subscription, you’re restricted to viewing Microsoft Office files and presenting PowerPoint slides. Office 365 subscribers, on the other hand, can use the apps to create and edit Microsoft Office content.
If you compare the expense of renting Office 365 Personal against the cost of buying the standalone Office Professional 2013, it seems like a solid value. OneDrive and Skype aside, you could use Office 365 Personal for six years before it surpasses the price of the single Office Professional 2013 license. By that time, Microsoft will probably have released at least two more major updates to Office — updates to which the Office 365 subscription will have access while the Office Professional 2013 software grows increasingly obsolete.