With its new Office 365 Home Premium, available today, Microsoft is encouraging its users to move to a subscription model that it says will offer more flexibility and features. The software, which we reviewed earlier, which will launch in 162 markets and 21 languages, will cost $99 per year, and come with 5 licenses per subscription, good for Macs or PCs--but not Windows RT devices. A "University" version for students and teachers will cost $79.99 for a four-year plan. The Small Business Premium version, which costs $149.99 per year, will be available on February 27, and also includes shared calendars, a 25GB mailbox with virus and spam protection, 10GB of cloud storage plus 500GB for each user.
Users will also get 20GB of additional storage on SkyDrive, for a total of 27GB, as well as 60 minutes of free Skype calls per month. The subscription includes Office On Demand, which lets a user stream Office applications to a PC, even if it's not one of the
One benefit touted by Microsoft with the subscription model is that a user's version of Office will always be up-to-date; the company says it plans to release updates on a more timely basis than before. If you decide to stop paying for the subscription, your version of Office will go into a reduced functionality mode, letting you read and print documents, but not edit them.
Non-subscription versions are also available: Office 2013 Home and Student will cost $139, and come with Excel, OneNote, PowerPoint, and Word; Home and Office costs $219, and includes Outlook; and Professional costs $399 and adds in Access and Publisher.