With Windows 8 on the horizon, it seems only fitting that we learn a little more about its productive companion, Microsoft Office 2013 and, at exactly at what price-point Microsoft will be targeting the Windows 8-friendly touch-enabled office suite at.
Alas, we only have dollar figures at this stage, however, Microsoft has revealed office pricing, which should help offer some ballpark figures for our UK readers.
|Office Suite||Cost||What's Included|
Office 2013 Home and Student
|$139||Word, Excel, PowerPoint, OneNote|
|Office 2013 Home and Business||$219||As Above + Outlook|
|Office 2013 Professional||$399||As Above + Access, Publisher and more|
|Office 365 Home Premium||$100p/y||
As Above on up to 5 PCs + 20GB Skydrive
+ 60 minutes per month Skype calling
|Office 365 Small Business Premium||$150p/y/u||
As above + Lync, HD Meetings, website, 25GB Cloud Outlook,
however, 10GB Skydrive + 500MB per user and no Skype minutes
We're seeing pretty typical prices for Office 2013, roughly in-line with previous releases. Microsoft has instead focused itself on enticing customers up and into the cloud, with Office 365.
At $100 per year, we'd say Office 365 Home Premium offers quite the compelling deal. Naturally, upgrades are included in the price; customers are able to spread the cost of what is effectively a single purchase of Office 2013 Professional over four years, by which time, we'd expect to have seen at least one new product version - a definite saving. Microsoft sweetens the deal by allowing the online suite to be installed on up to five computers at the same time and, by offering 20GB of Skydrive and all the Cloud-sharing features that come with it, plus 60 minutes of worldwide Skype calls per month.
Small Business Premium could become somewhat of a double-edged sword, however. It's a great perk for employees, as each user is permitted the same 5 PC installation rights as Home Premium, you also gain the ability to host HD meetings and a basic website, however some of the extra enticing perks are gone, such as free Skype calls and some of the Skydrive storage.
The real kicker is when you think about the package from a multi-user point-of-view; 10 users would cost a business $1,500 per year to maintain and, when that 10 user limit is reached and a business needs to expand, the equivalent package currently on offer is priced at $240 per year per user, suddenly boosting costs by 160 per cent, though e-mail archiving and voice-mail support are added.
When you compare this with moving an organisation over to a true cloud service, suddenly paying for offline apps seems less appealing. Microsoft offers Office 365 Small Business, purely in the cloud, for $72 per user per year for up to 50 users and likewise, if you look over to Google, which arguably has a simpler to use cloud-based service with superior collaboration at this stage, there's no user cap on packages and a standard fee of $50 per user per year (and a superior pound conversion rate).
Whilst we're unsure how Office 2013 pricing will unfold in pounds, with the online services with Microsoft, you can quite reliably take 25 per cent off the figure for something that'll likely be pretty spot-on.