Which MS Office is right for me?

We explain the differences between classic, perpetually licensed Office and the new software-as-a-subscription service Office 365

Several years ago, Microsoft released Office 365.  Unlike software you buy once and then have to pay to upgrade later (perpetual license), Office 365 is a software-as-a-service subscription.

So what are the differences?

Perpetually Licensed:

A perpetually licensed version simply means you purchase one (or more) licenses for a specific software version.  There are different packages with different items.  For instance, "Home and Student" does not include Outlook, but "Home and Business" does (and costs more as a result).  You only pay one time for the license instead of having a subscription.  With that purchase, you get the included software, support, and access security/bugfix updates for a set amount of time.  The time varies, but as an example, Office 2010 received support until 2015, and security updates are promised until 2020.  The main benefit here is fixed one-time cost.  Some of the downsides are that even with a fixed price, you will need to purchase new versions eventually. The license is also only valid for one device. Also, if a purchase or licensing info becomes lost, transferring or reinstalling the software can be impossible without a repurchase.

Office 365:

This is the subscription version of Office. With a recurring subscription, your software never becomes outdated and you never have to buy a new version.  If your subscription is paid, you will go from Office 2013 to 2016, to 2019, etc. indefinitely. Since it is a subscription service, it is often easier to manage and transfer licenses.  Each subscription can be installed on 2 to 5 devices instead of 1 (depending on the subscription you get).  You can even have a third party IT firm (like QuickFix) manage your subscription, billing, and services, so no more worries about losing a license key.  Microsoft also offers other bonuses for going with the subscription, including free cloud storage, web-based and mobile versions of the office apps (use them on darn near any device), email hosting, and group tools for business (like SharePoint).

As with most things, there are benefits to both choices.  The features included with a subscription certainly favor businesses more, but also offer things that home users can enjoy as well.  If you are looking to upgrade or purchase Microsoft Office, drop us a line, we will help you find the solution that best fits your needs!

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