Apple is all about the iCloud these days, and Microsoft is also betting on the cloud with its new Office productivity suite. Today Microsoft announced the availability of Office 365, its new paid subscription service for accessing and editing your content from any computer via the Office website. Office 365 also lets you install the Office suite on up to five PCs or Macs.
Office 2013 has also been released for Windows machines. Mac users are still stuck on Office 2011.
Office 365 Home Premium is like an enhanced version of iCloud.com. Not only do you get Word, Excel, PowerPoint, OneNote, Outlook, Publisher, and Access on up to 5 computers, but you can sign into cloud-powered versions of Office from the web. Based on The Verge’s preview from last summer, it actually looks pretty stunning. Office 2013 is only available for Windows users right now. “Microsoft has said a new Mac product is in the works, and that subscribers will get it as part of a future software update,” according to Engadget.
If you’re installing Office on multiple machines, then Office 365 looks like a smart way to go. The Home Premium subscription costs $10 per month or $100 per year. The student version costs $80 for a four-year plan. A business version is coming at the end of February. There’s a one-month trial of Office 365 available now. Microsoft is tossing in free updates, 20GB of SkyDrive storage, and 60 minutes of free Skype calls per month for everyone.
Office 2013 for Windows is still being boxed and sold in retailers around the world, but Microsoft isn’t including installation DVDs anymore, just product redemption codes. Good riddance. Apple ditched physical disks in its retail stores a long time ago.
Office for iOS is still under wraps, but word on the street is that it’s coming soon. We’ll keep you posted as that develops.
Apple sells its iWork suite on iOS and OS X to compete with Office. iCloud.com lets you grab your Pages, Numbers and Keynote files from the web, but you can’t edit them in the cloud. Office 365 is smart. Apple needs to take a page from Microsoft’s playbook.