No official U.S. release date has been announced. (Photo : Microsoft)
Microsoft is looking to change the way that consumers pay for Microsoft Office, and to that end has introduced a subscription based pricing model for the program's 2013 version. Under the new model, Office 365 Home Premium will cost $99.99/year, and Office 365 Small Business Premium will cost $149.99/year. If Office users opt for the traditional licensed offering, Office Home & Student 2013 will be priced at $139.99, Office Home & Business 2013 at $219.99, and Office Professional 2013 at $399.99. Office Small Business Premium offers its suite for $12.50/month and can be used by up to 25 employees.
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Office Home & Student 2013 features Powerpoint, OneNote, Excel, and Word. Office Home & Business supplements this package with Outlook, and Office Professional sweetens the deal with Publisher and Access.
Should consumers choose the subscription option for Office 365 Home Premium, they will be treated to 60 minutes of Skype calls per month and 20GB of SkyDrive cloud storage. Microsoft has also introduced Office on Demand, a feature available to consumers that allows users to stream the program to non-subscribed devices.
With the license option, Office 365 Home Premium owners are free to install the included programs on five computers.
Computer World notes that "all versions, whether subscription or conventional, have a new interface consistent with the "Modern -formerly called "Metro"-interface of Windows 8, which is optimized for touchscreens, such as those in tablets."
IDC analyst Al Hilwa states, "Microsoft is bracing for a shift to a subscription model because it's so much easier for them on a financial revenue perspective because it's more predictable."
In order to achieve this, the company "is trying to make the price of the subscription more attractive by increasing the prices of licenses."
While Microsoft Office 2013 does not have an official release date, the preview version of the suite can be downloaded on Microsoft's official website now.
Microsoft Office 2013 Video Preview