FAQ: Microsoft rents out Office 365
Is Office 365 "in the cloud"? No, not really. Although the term "cloud" has been linked to Office 365 Home Premium and University, it's a misnomer: The software is installed locally, on the hard drive of your PC or Mac to be specific. The applications are not running on Microsoft's servers, and you don't need an Internet connection to use them.
The only "cloud" aspects of Office 365 Home Premium and Office 365 University are the SkyDrive online storage -- by default, that's where the Office applications store all the documents you create -- and some of the software delivery techniques, including "Click-to-Run" and "Office On Demand."
The former accelerates start time with Office 2013 (though not the Mac edition) by downloading and installing the basics right off the bat, often in just minutes. While you work, the rest downloads and installs in the background.
Office on Demand lets you install temporary, virtualized versions of some Office apps -- Access, Excel, PowerPoint, Publisher and Word -- on a Windows PC you don't own, lets you work on that machine with your personal Office settings, then when you're done it scrubs the system of all evidence you were there.
Is Office 365 a good deal? That's easily the toughest question.
Computerworld's analysis last year showed that the subscription was a better deal only if you used four or more of the five Office installs; for one to three copies, it was less expensive over the long run (specifically over the five-year stretch between most Office upgrades) to buy perpetual licenses.
That analysis, however, did not take into account the extras, including the additional SkyDrive storage space; features such as Office on Demand; or even the application selection differences between what's provided by Office 365 and what's bundled with Office Home & Student 2013, the lowest-priced perpetual license.
For example, Publisher is not included with Office Home & Student 2013, nor is Outlook. But both come with Office 365. If you require -- or simply want -- those applications, they may be enough to tip you toward a subscription -- even if you utilize just two or three of the five allowed installs.
What's in it for Microsoft with this "rental" concept? Money.
Microsoft already makes most of its money from Office using similar deals with businesses, which typically buy not only massive numbers of Office licenses, but also the right to run any upgrades issued in the next few years.
Microsoft wants to move as many customers as possible, including consumers, to that same business model, because subscriptions not only provide regular -- and more easily forecast -- revenue, but also because it's betting that once it makes the initial sale, it will lock in users to a continuing series of payments.
- Best iPhone, iPad Business Apps for 2014
- 14 Tech Conventions You Should Attend in 2014
- 10 Desktop Apps to Power Your Windows PC
- How to Add New Job Skills Without Going Back to School
- Slideshow: 7 security mistakes people make with their mobile device
- iOS vs. Android: Which is more secure?
- 11 sure signs you've been hacked
- Review: Box beats Dropbox - and all the rest - for business Box trumps Dropbox, Engyte, Citrix ShareFile, EMC Syncplicity, and OwnCloud with rich mix of file sync, file sharing, user management, deep reporting and...
- Analyst Report-Mixed All Flash Arrays Delivers Safer Higher Performance What is the impact of an all-flash array with enterprise features and reliability on the mainstream data center? In the mainstream environment, storage...
- Embracing Flash Storage Exec Brief Flash storage can deliver impressive performance, especially for random I/O, by eliminating rotational and seek latencies that are common in all hard disk...
- Embracing Tiered Storage Exec Brief All data is not created equal and thus all data need not be treated the same by the storage system. IT executives must...
- Four Myths of High-Productivity App Dev Debunked Debunk the main myths surrounding high-productivity application development and how both platforms have overcome them.
On-Demand Webcast: 7 Reasons to Choose VoIP
Thinking about a new phone system for your business?
Be sure to watch this informative webcast. Steve Strauss, small business columnist for USA...
All Desktop Apps White Papers |