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back to article This time it's 'Personal': new Office 365 sub covers just two devices

Microsoft has introduced a new subscription model for Office 365 and this time it's literally personal: the new “Office 365 Personal” makes the productivity suite available for just two devices – one PC or Mac and one tablet – for $US69.99 a year. That's a small discount on the $83.88 it would cost to pay the $6.99-a-month …

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Anonymous Coward

For the price, you are better off with the Home subscription than the Personal. If you ever needed to add a third device, a second subscription would cost too much. In many cases, you can find a Home subscription around $70 to $80. The Personal subscription price should be $50. They give you 1/5 of the devices for only a 30% reduction in price.

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FAIL

Agreed. Total non-starter here. I'm sure it would be nice to have an extra license or three in the family. [It's a r-e-a-l-l-y big family. License management is actually one of my chores.]

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Anonymous Coward

"For the price, you are better off with" something that supports open standards. Which you can still fund by the way, and it's a good idea to do so.

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You can certainly pay less or even nothing with Libre Office.

However, MS Office does in fact support open standards. The very first question it asks is whether you want ODF or OOXML set as default. Even if not default, it'll still open and save save ODF if specified.

So, I mean, no doubt, you can pay less. Why not concentrate on that rather than FUD the proceedings?

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yawn

I must admit that, being now retired, I am not likely to use the components of Office very much. But the three-year cycle was sort-of OK for the $80 or $90 it cost.

But that price EACH YEAR. Sorry, Redmond. You're not worth *that* much more than iOffice which is now free.

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Linux

HOME?!?!?! Paid for office?!?!?!

Sorry, I'm sticking with LibreOffice and my Box account.

And Kingsoft Office on Aneroid.

Cheap, yes... and no damnable .docx BS upgrade lock-in treadmill.

Thanks, The Document Foundation.

(Yes, I have given money to more than one F/OSS project... Call me a CHEAPTARD, ok?)

...Cirdan...

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Anonymous Coward

why would I want this?

When Google docs, libreoffice are both free?

Go home Microsoft you're drunk,

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Re: why would I want this?

It doesn't even have to be free, if you want you can also buy full office packages which come without a best before date for less than the price of the yearly tithe to the Lord of Redmond.

The genie's out of the bottle, people know there are very usable alternatives.

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Anonymous Coward

Re: why would I want this?

Libre Office fair enough, but Google Docs is a toy in comparison to online Office.

It's atrocious with large documents, lacks all but the most basic features, and can't even natively create a simple text file without adding a third party tool (because after all a gDoc is much better for lock-in [which apparently only Microsoft does if you read the Reg comments on a regular basis]).

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Re: why would I want this?

Additionally, MS have their free Office Web Apps as a competitor to Google Docs if someone is wedded to free. Though I agree I would point people at Libre Office over Google Docs.

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Just upvoted the last three comments to counteract the person who downvoted all of them for what? Suggesting that there are alternatives to Office that are good enough for those people?

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Anonymous Coward

Meh

"Just upvoted the last three comments to counteract the person who downvoted all of them for what? "

In my case, for coming out with the same trite crap every time MS is mentioned where the suggestion no longer has any merit because everyone here's aware anyway. Can't speak for the other guy who you were responding to, though. I'd guess I'm not the only one who finds it all pretty tiresome. Have a downvote yourself for voting for the wrong reasons - if you agree with those people, you should've upvoted what they were actually saying in the first place rather than trying to play knight in shining armour, no?

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Anonymous Coward

Re: Meh

When MS stop being anti-competitive, anti-freedom and monumental dicks; the hate will stop. Until such times; put them in a blender with Sony and Oracle, turn it on and walk away.

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Re: Meh

Do MS HATE YOUR FREEDOM AC? Like Saddam?

Sarcasm aside, I'd like to see what you mean by "anti-competitive" though. Browser ballots, open sourcing their frameworks, pushing their office suite onto all platforms, linux hosting on Azure, Oracle interop, supporting Xamarin...

Hard to see how they could possibly be called anti-competitive these days. Compared to whom?

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Anonymous Coward

Re: Meh

The browser ballot was part of the settlement with the EU regulators, after the regulators charged Microsoft with anti-competitive behavior in the browser-market. I am not making a judgement either way on the settlement or charges, but using the browser ballot seems a little disingenuous, since it was used as a punishment for anti-competitive behavior.

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Anonymous Coward

Re: Meh

"I'd like to see what you mean by "anti-competitive" though"

Oh where to begin. ISO ballot stuffing over OOXML.

Patent threats against Android.

Windows tax (refunds no longer possible).

ODF FUD

Secure Boot (MS made sure the implementation was fecked and that they control the keys)

And that's without trying.

MS make noises dna PR puffs about "open surface" etc. But it's all bullshit.

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Re: Meh

> ISO ballot stuffing over OOXML

Name a company that doesn't lobby for their interests. Google lobbied for ODF but both are published and independently maintained standards. Just because one has become an article of religious fiath for the F/OSS crowd doesn't mean the other isn't open.

> Patent threats against Android.

Assume that all those companies pay up not because they're scared of the big bad Beast of Redmond ( I very much doubt that Samsung are scared, for example) but rather because the patents hold up. If that's the case, would you rather MS just gave their work away? Do you think their shareholders would like that?

> Windows tax (refunds no longer possible).

That's more about OEMs than MS and you know it.

> ODF FUD

Office supports ODF as detailed above.

> Secure Boot (MS made sure the implementation was fecked and that they control the keys)

Now this is FUD. MS use a part of the UEFI standard and in order to gain certification, OEMs must enable the user to turn off secure boot in UEFI. Either you have no idea what you're ranting about or... well, you already know the "or".

So basically, your objections are religious, then?

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Anonymous Coward

Re: Meh

> Name a company that doesn't lobby for their interests

MS did much, much more than just lobby. Go back and read the stories. OOXML is such a clusterfuck of a "standard" it should have been laughed out. Also, the license prohibits the use by free software. How nice. Cite: https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/OOXML#Standardization_process

> (I very much doubt that Samsung are scared, for example)

I very much think they are. "Pay us for Android, or you can forget your OEM license deal." Notice how MS *never* go after Google who write Android. Curious that and a typical patent-troll tactic.

> That's more about OEMs than MS and you know it.

Nope, it's threats from MS. Ask Dell. I'll also cite: https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Bundling_of_Microsoft_Windows#License_refund_policy

> Office supports ODF as detailed above.

Only a deliberately broken implementation. Cite: https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/OpenDocument_software#Microsoft_Office_2007_SP2_support_controversy

> Now [Secure Boot] is FUD.

Not it isn't. Without MS we wouldn't be saddled with SecureBoot and MS have ensured that it is *very* hard for an end user to add new keys. Add to that that non-MS OS vendors have to go an *PAY MS* for the privilege of having a key. Cite: https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Bundling_of_Microsoft_Windows#Boot_locking_concerns

> OEMs must enable the user to turn off secure boot in UEFI

Wrong. Please cite me the part of the UEFI standard where it says this must be so. Clue: It doesn't. What you refer to are the MS marketing terms and that only applies to getting the pretty badge (Windows tax again) and the unlock part only applies to x86. MS could change this at any time.

> So basically, your objections are religious, then?

Nope, factual. And at least I know what I'm talking about.

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Anonymous Coward

Re: Meh

Do catch up. Google have overtaken Microsoft's market share here as well as everywhere else.

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Anonymous Coward

Re: Meh

I never said Google was perfect, did I?

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LDS
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Re: Meh

http://www.linuxfoundation.org/publications/making-uefi-secure-boot-work-with-open-platforms

The only ones afraid of secure boot are all those "linux fans" attempting to run pirated copies of Windows on their systems.

Microsoft made the right thing to push a secure way to boot an OS allowing only verified code (after all that's how the Sony PS3 works), even if it's also trying to push it a bit too far to allow Windows only.

As long as any attempted by MS to hinder other OS installation is hindered, secure boot *is* a valuable feature.

If you're a sysadmin and you know nobody can boot your machines without an unauthorized OS (i.e. a live CD, a USB stick, whatever) you know you have a new good layer of security. And tha'ts true even if you're running whatever Linux you like and you don't want someone tamper with your machines.

If in your bedroom or basement you can't install a pirated copy of Windows to play some pirated games, well, I do not care.

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Anonymous Coward

Re: Meh

I believe I have misunderstood the purpose of Secure Boot then, if its primary purpose is to make it harder to pirate Windows. I do not care what OS people choose, but brushing aside concerns about the implications and the current implementation of Secure Boot as talk from "linux fans wanting to pirate Windows" sounds like badly flawed argument.

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Facepalm

Re: Meh

"... even if it's also trying to push it a bit too far to allow Windows only."

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Re: Meh

>>"Secure Boot (MS made sure the implementation was fecked and that they control the keys)"

Utter bullshit which has been corrected over and over again. Firstly, Secure Boot is part of the UEFI spec which was developed by a large consortium of primarily hardware manufacturers. Secondly, it's MS's requirements for Windows 8 that actually require OEMs to NOT lock the hardware so that it can be turned off. Thirdly, anyone can purchase keys. RedHat actually chose to pay MS to licence keys because it was cheaper and easier than managing the whole process themselves!

Here is the source: http://msdn.microsoft.com/en-us/library/windows/hardware/hh748188.aspx

And the relevant part from it:

18. Mandatory. Enable/Disable Secure Boot. On non-ARM systems, it is required to implement the ability to disable Secure Boot via firmware setup. A physically present user must be allowed to disable Secure Boot via firmware setup without possession of PKpriv."

>>And that's without trying.

Apparently so.

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Re: Meh

>>"Notice how MS *never* go after Google who write Android. Curious that and a typical patent-troll tactic."

That's because Google are clever buggers and don't sell Android directly themselves, but give it away and make their money from other people using it. It would not be worthwhile for MS to sue Google because it is other parties making the money from selling devices with Android on it. Were it easy to work around the patents, Google would surely have done so. Ergo, it is not.

>>Only a deliberately broken implementation. Cite: https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/OpenDocument_software#Microsoft_Office_2007_SP2_

You deliberately linked to the page for MS Office 2007 and their first iteration of support for ODF about six years ago. What in today's MS Office do you find lacking in their ODF support. Please be specific.

>>"Not it isn't. Without MS we wouldn't be saddled with SecureBoot and MS have ensured that it is *very* hard for an end user to add new keys. Add to that that non-MS OS vendors have to go an *PAY MS* for the privilege of having a key. Cite: "

Secure Boot isn't an MS technology. MS did nothing to make the obtaining of keys hard - you approach the OEMs for keys, not MS. RedHat and other distros do not have to pay MS for the privilege of having a key. RedHat chose to pay MS to use theirs because it was cheaper and easier than managing the process themselves: http://www.redhat.com/about/news/archive/2012/6/uefi-secure-boot

Additionally, as I proved elsewhere, MS actually require users to be able to turn off Secure Boot, which is as trivial as swapping your boot device. So these other distros don't even have to have keys if they don't want. If you want to have a go at someone for locking down x86 devices, pick on Google who actually have locked down some of their Chromebooks meaning, for example, if I want to put Debian on a Pixel, I have to manually put it into developer mode on every boot.

You're flat out wrong about Secure Boot. Additionally, it's a valuable security feature.

>>"Wrong. Please cite me the part of the UEFI standard where it says this must be so. Clue: It doesn't."

It's not in the UEFI standard as you well know, it's a requirement from MS to have WIndows 8 certification. And the link for that I posted earlier in my other reply to you. You may refer to Windows 8 certification as "a pretty badge" but without that requirement, OEMs would be free to lock down hardware so I couldn't install GNU/Linux on it.

>>"MS could change this at any time.

So it's pre-crime now, is it?

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Headmaster

Re: Meh

>>"I believe I have misunderstood the purpose of Secure Boot then, if its primary purpose is to make it harder to pirate Windows"

That's not its primary purpose. It's not even a Microsoft Technology. It's from the UEFI Consortium which is a collection of primarily hardware manufacturers such as Lenovo and Samsung and HP (though MS does have representation on there, they're one of about 13 members).

Secure Boot is to verify that only signed code can be booted. It can be turned off, but whilst on, it can check that nothing has interfered with the boot loader or other parts of the OS that start before anti-malware code begins. It's a valuable security feature, but it's not really about preventing pirated Windows. After all, MS requires that users should be able to turn it off if they want for a start!

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Holmes

Re: Meh

So far we have established that exactly none of AC's issues with MS are based on fact.

What a surprise that is. It's almost as if AC had been getting his/her information from internet retards on comment boards rather than bothering to look anything up.

Research is hard. Internet hate is easy.

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Anonymous Coward

Re: Meh

I am so sorry, I guess we should all just bow down and accept whatever convicted monopoly abuser (which is a fact, look it up) decides to offer us.

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LDS
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Re: Meh

It's not it primary purpose - the purpose is to ensure a "secure" boot stack and make much harder for malware to start early in the OS boot process to hide himself better. But cracking Windows requires to alter some of its vital files - something secure boot will trap and thereby refuse to boot the OS. Sure, users with enough knowledge can disable secure boot and attempt to load the OS anyway, but still it will make cracking the OS harder, and installing cracked versions as well.

I've yet to check, but I hope even applications can be written to refuse to start if secure boot is disabled or the system compromised in some way. In many environments that can be highly desirable.

Being an IT professional I've seen enough "hardcore Linux fans" running pirated copies of Windows "just to run the games" - usually pirated as well. Probably I'm also from a country that always had a high level of piracy compared to others, but I've seen many complaining about "security" features just because they weren't allowed to run pirated software easily - while keygens and cracks are often attack vectors.

Too many users complain "Windows is not secure", when usually it's them making it unsecure running with admin privileges and installing pirated software often riddled with malware. No OS can protect you when you start cracking it and then install malware yourself...

Sure, Linux where the need to run pirated software is minimal, is far more secure from this point of view.

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Anonymous Coward

Re: Meh

I was simply pointing out that LDS's argument, that the only people complaining about Secure Boot are "linux fans wanting to pirate Windows", is a bad argument. Secure Boot does not stop people from running a pirated copy of Windows.

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Re: Meh

> I am so sorry, I guess we should all just bow down and accept whatever convicted monopoly abuser (which is a fact, look it up) decides to offer us.

It was a fact in 1998, or rather the lawsuit was, and it was initiated for actions taken in 1994. 20 years ago. Were you even born when what you're whining about happened?

Current monopoly abuser? Not so much. Not so much as illegally leveraging a monopoly in personal music players into phone and digital downloads or illegally leveraging a 94% majority share of search traffic into selling extra "value added" services that the user can't switch off.

Wake up, AC. The coffee isn't 20 years old. The coffee is fresh and somebody else is serving it to you by the bucketful.

> When MS stop being anti-competitive, anti-freedom and monumental dicks; the hate will stop.

It seems they stopped years ago. The hate continues.

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Anonymous Coward

Re: Meh

"It was a fact in 1998, or rather the lawsuit was, and it was initiated for actions taken in 1994. 20 years ago."

And not a thing has changed. We still see the same anti-freedom, anti-competitive behaviour.

"Current monopoly abuser? Not so much"

Oh very much indeed. Still ~95% of desktop share; that is a massive monopoly to hit OEMs over the head with and enforce dubious patent ransoms.

"It seems they stopped years ago."

No, they just got some better PR and came out with bullshit terms like "open surface" that the unthinking swallowed hook, line and sinker. Wake up; old boss, same as the new boss.

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Anonymous Coward

Re: Meh

And I'll just add this: http://www.imgur.com/5HiqCTi.jpg

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Re: Meh

> Oh very much indeed. Still ~95% of desktop share; that is a massive monopoly to hit OEMs over the head with and enforce dubious patent ransoms.

You're quite right, MS should simply refuse to let anyone use their OS until they have encouraged freedom and competitiveness by driving everyone to a different OS.

Are you sober?

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Re: Meh

An ad drawn by a third party for a joke? Okay...

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Facepalm

Re: Meh

>>"So far we have established that exactly none of AC's issues with MS are based on fact."

Well one of them was, it was just that saying Office 2007 didn't fully support ODF isn't really that relevant today as a counter to someone saying Office supports open standards. Oh, and the EU competition case from 1993 is technically based on fact as well. It's just that over twenty years later, some of us have moved on.

But some people love their hate, however irrational. I got two downvotes for a post that just corrected someone who had claimed you lost your files when you stopped an Office 365 subscription (WTF?). A few people will even vote down simple facts if it challenges their world view.

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Gold badge

Productivity software is a commodity now. Only niches have an actual need to pay for a version with certain special features, though inertia has a lot more people convinced they need to pay than those who actually do. That and FUD, of course.

Most folks get by just fine on 2-ply, but some people are just sensitive enough to need 3-ply or more. While I don't give a bent woo-hoo about MS's subscription moneygrab, the more offerings the merrier. I like that the toilet paper aisle has all different sizes, numbers of rolls and varieties of softness. I can find the one that's just right for me.

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Anonymous Coward

Original.

Automatic downvote for the tired FUD claim.

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Gold badge

Trevor,

If productivtiy software is a commodity, what's the alternative to Outlook?

As I may have said before, I know many people who swear by Outlook. Personally I swear at it... I've never liked it myself, but I don't know of any other product that can do the same address book / email / joint calendar stuff. I've never used Lotus Notes, but I don't believe that's a possibility for small business and personal use, and anyway it seems to be universally loathed.

I also know many users who absolutely love it. If you tried to take away Outlook or the iPhones from our road warriors, they'd drag you outside and burn you in a 20' high wicker phone...

After over 15 years of using Office (bugger it really is that long!) I've made my peace with Outlook and got used to Word. But Excel is still one of my favourite pieces of software. I've tried a few other spreadsheets, and not liked them as much. For light personal use LibreOffice is great. For work, I'll pay for Excel every time.

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Silver badge

> I've never used Lotus Notes, but I don't believe that's a possibility for small business and personal use, and anyway it seems to be universally loathed.

Lotus Notes was designed as an internal project to make X.400 look simple, attractive and easy to manage.

I think it's quite literally the single worst piece of software I've ever encountered in 20 years in this industry and yes, that includes crappy in-house programs written for deranged accountants, council-written unusable tripe and bloatware frameworks that do everything in a spectacularly complex way that ends in an undocumented exception. And Access.

I'm not even kidding.

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Gold badge

"If productivtiy software is a commodity, what's the alternative to Outlook?"

Depends on who you are. Personally, I've found Thunderbird is a good alternative for a lot of people. Many others like Google Apps + Gmail is as integrated as they need. I've seen a lot of people uptaking Zimbra recently. It is all about horse for courses.

Is there a like-for-like, feature-for-feature replacement for Office, especially for Outlook? No. But that doesn't matter. Office is huge; it tries to be all things to all people and most people just don't need it. They're fine with the alternatives.

Some folks legitimately need Office. Still others have a need to cling to it like a security blanket. All roads lead to personal happiness here, so why judge? The point is that we have choice now. Not so long ago we really didn't.

There are viable alternatives to Office today for the majority of users and that's huge progress. Microsoft must compete on merit int he productivity space and other vendors are meeting niches and price points that Microsoft doesn't feel like embracing. That's a good thing. Monoculture is bad. Let the good times roll.

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Bronze badge

hmmm

Isn't Netflix also £5.99 a month...

What's all this "home licencing" BS. Have MS totally lost touch with the proportion of their market that they borked w8 to attempt to woo? I can see a "family" being willing to pay £1 a month for EVERYONE in that (direct) family to use office on any number of devices. Pretty much every parent could afford and would respect that price point. MS would be a generous giant and friend of the family/student.

A billion £1 coins is better than a million £10 notes.

For the amount if use a home user would get out of office they simply can't pitch the price that high. In many case they'd be charging something like £10 an hour for access. Madness.

Pull your socks up Google and get the next android release to support desktops/laptops (not nec. Touch screen) out of the can. More home users will be attracted to that than chrome os. And make it install easily from within windows (XP+). Boom.

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Wake up Microsoft

The £300 a year I pay to MS for an Action Pack subscription is money well spent. If I didn't qualify for that, I'm pretty sure I wouldn't be using MS Office for anything other than business.

They need to sort themselves out before the free stuff starts to look professional rather than something cobbled together over the weekend.

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Anonymous Coward

Not again

"one PC or Mac"

A Mac *IS A* PC. PC = Personal Computer (quite often following the old IBM format).

C'mon El Reg, you should know this. If you mean "Windows and OS X", then just say "Windows and OS X".

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Re: Not again

pedant-ard.

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Anonymous Coward

Re: Not again

Sorry, is this "Mom's Apple Pie Emporium" or a technology website? If the former, then the mistake is understandable. If the latter, then it is utterly inexcusable.

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Anonymous Coward

Re: Not again

Try "Dads Beard and Sandal Shop"

Although the title "Dad" does insinuate that some of the readership of this site have managed to have sex with a girl

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FAIL

MS Dumbasses

Yet again Microsoft shoot themselves in the foot on pricing, steadfastly ignoring the fact I can get the Real MS office for a fraction of what this costs, either through the home use program, or the standard home edition or one of the other heavily discounted edition.

Ok it wont work on my tablet but thats not a useful device for doing MS office type work anyway.

Honestly Microsoft are so frightened of not being able to match the revenue streams from "legacy" products that their insane pricing strangles new products at birth.

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Devil

Only a matter of time

US $69.95 sub fee for two devices, per year? For home use? Golly, if there were only an alternative, maybe even a free solution for unlimited devices. Oh, wait ... ;-)

The lovely thing about reality is that it only needs time to manifest itself. In this case, reality will bite MS in the arse. They're too far lost in their own peculiar fantasy land. ('Tis a pity Mr. Jobs appropriated the term "reality distortion field" ... it might apply in MS case.)

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