By James Paladino/ ( | First Posted: Jan 29, 2013 11:08 AM EST

Office 365 is Microsoft's first foray into subscription-based productivity software with the brand (Photo : Microsoft )

Microsoft Office 2013 has arrived, and it has risen to the Cloud. There's only one problem:  the Redmond-based company doesn't provide transportation to users who choose a flat-rate purchase over the subscription fee.

Perhaps the most telling innovation of the new Office is its pricing structure, despite a stable of upgrades to the productivity suite's functionality. As the X-factor in Microsoft's latest software, critics have justly taken monthly fees into account in their evaluations. With a subscription to Office 365, users are granted access to several Office Web apps and a nexus for colleagues to meet online and instant message one another.  But how do the critics feel about Office 2013 and its Office 365 counterpart? Let's take a look.  

"Office 365 Home Premium tries to cover all the bases for personal productivity, and in my tests it did an admirable job," says CNET. "With the focus on making the suite available on Windows 8 tablets, the company made many actions easier across the suite out of necessity, and so it's easier to use in general, regardless of the type of device you are working on.

CNN admits that "Some students and professionals actually need all the bells and whistles," and notes that the "free software upgrades and simplicity of having all users on a standard, shared apps suite make Office 365 an appealing option" for small businesses. "But for the person who doesn't need cloud support and just wants to print up a garage sale flier, or share a spreadsheet for managing the family finances, online services like the very good (and very free) Google Docs work just fine."

PC World labels "The cloud-connected Office 365 is potentially a game changer for Microsoft's Office franchise," but laments that "Office on Demand doesn't offer the type of flexibility and consistency you'd hope for with a Web-friendly version of Office."

So how does the pricing fare? The traditional Office Standard costs $369, while Office Professional Plus 2013 is priced at $499. Undergrads and doctoral students may want to check out Office Home & Student 2013 for $139.99. Meanwhile, Home and Business is priced at $219.99, and Office Professional 2013 runs $399.99. As for Office 365 Home Premium, consumers can nab the software bundle for $8.33/month. Office 365 Small Business Premium will be priced at $12.50/month, 365 University at $3.30/month, 365 Midsize Business at $15/month, and 365 Enterprise & Government at $20/month.

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