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back to article Microsoft tries to sell home Office users on subscription pricing

Microsoft has unveiled its first attempt to seduce consumers into paying subscription pricing for its Office 365 package. For $99.99 a year, buyers get the Office 365 Home Premium, which gives them a license to use Word, Excel, PowerPoint, OneNote, Outlook, Publisher, and Access applications on five computers in the home. …

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"anyone who can take advantage of the Home User Program can get their own copy of Office 2013 for £8.95 "

I think MS have noticed. My 80,000 employee organisation has withdrawn from the home user programme because they don't want to pay the costs (not disclosed) that are made for that. At a guess MS are ramping the HUP costs for business up in the hope of forcing home users onto a subscription.

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Anonymous Coward

The costs to your organisation of that are zero if it maintains an ELA for your other Microsoft software........

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In my experience most home users take advantage of the `family friend who works in IT` to get their Office software, this is gonna go down like a lead balloon!

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Anonymous Coward

"It's a source of not inconsiderable annoyance to many at Microsoft that home users typically buy one version of Office and then never upgrade it. After all, if all you want to do is write documents, do a very occasional PowerPoint or read an Excel spreadsheet from work then you really don’t need the latest all-singing, all-dancing version of Office."

"It's a source of not inconsiderable annoyance to many home users who typically buy one version of Office and then never upgrade it that Microsoft won't leave them alone, but drags them kicking into new, superior formats, newer, breakthrough ribbons, and other CRAP they neither need or even want.

100 bucks a year, whooaaa! 5 computers at home, all those eager beavers, dad, mom, their sprog, all sweating away at their desks. Is it a bargain or is it a bargain :(

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I switched to OpenOffice years ago.

I just dont need the full MS suite on my home machine, the only time I need it is for work who happily gives me the oldest possible version.

The 60 minutes of Skype calls is interesting, but for that amount of money, you would expect more than 12 hours of free calls per year...

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Seriously home users still using Microsoft Office...

...also won't care when they are charged once per year and probably facing the prospect of Office 365 being canceled eventually, leaving them with a huge emigration problem.

If they did care about that, they wouldn't be considering Microsoft Office in the first place. They probably wouldn't be considering office products at all.

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No thanks. I'll buy a good old fashioned offline version on DVD and use it for the next 5 or more years without having to fork out every year.

I have Office 2003 at home and know a lot of people who are using Office 2000 and even '97 quite happily.

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My wife has been happily using Office '97 for many years (still using it today). While Powerpoint feels a bit long in the tooth, and she doesn't use Access or Excel, Word 97 does all she needs to do - unless she needs to open a .docx or convert to PDF, and then she'll lean on conversion programs.

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Meh

Re: Office XP here

@HolyFreaking whatever. Usable ? You're kidding. Best argument I have for OpenOffice and forks is that it works like software used for years. Users don't have to learn a different interface. The pain of going from office2003 to the horror of office 2010 put me off using any new application M$ offer at any price. It is annoying when document layouts are not correct, especially in tables, but there is a licenced PC running office97 around here for checking before sending if it matters.

IMHO, M$ have made it much easier for users to stick with the old versions, use converters or use something else.

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What people tend to forget

Is that software used to crash a lot more back then. For example the German version of Word used to crash when spell-checking the word "Realitätsbezug".

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FAIL

Home users still pay for office software?

http://docs.google.com Price: FREE

http://www.openoffice.org Price: FREE

http://www.kingsoftstore.com Price: FREE

http://www.libreoffice.org/ Price: FREE

http://symphony.lotus.com Price: FREE

http://www.oxygenofficepro.com Price: FREE

http://www.zoho.com/ Price: FREE

Some of them might not include things like macro languages, but how many home users use that??? ALL of those are suitable for 99.999% of home users. Sorry Microsoft, like Windows 8, Windows Phone 8, Xbox, Surface and Zune, you are simply out of touch...

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Anonymous Coward

Re: Home users still pay for office software?

You forgot http://office.microsoft.com/en-gb/web-apps-help/get-started-with-office-web-apps-HA101785172.aspx FREE

And that one actually works with standard documents....

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Trollface

Re: Home users still pay for office software?

MS have added ODF support:? Fantastic :)

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Stop

Re: Home users still pay for office software?

Standard documents, or microsoft standard documents? BIG difference.

I have never had a problem reading any word document, regardless of the version of MS Office it was written in. I use Google Docs (now Google Drive), and it just works, and the concurrent document editing and collaboration is superb.

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Facepalm

Wait a minute

"...the ability to share Office documents between multiple devices and getting availability over the internet ..."

That's what file systems, removable storage, networks, cloud storage and, er ... the internet are for. Or so i thought.

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I'm still using Office 2000

I must say I'm surprised and grateful that Microsoft has put so much effort into maintaining it as a viable option (including the converters for docx formats), but not so much that I'd consider shelling out for a newer version.

Microsoft seem dazzled into paralysis by the revenues they get from Office (witness the agonising over Outlook for RT), but the days of being able to sell a mass market product with such huge margins isn't going to survive the tablet/app age.

I don't see, either, that many people will immediately think of a software suite they've traditionally used to create paper documents as being the obvious solution to their cloud collaboration needs (assuming they have any).

If they can't find a way of selling a consumer version of Office (or its subcomponents) at a few pounds a throw, there isn't going to be a "home" Office product line in future.

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Re: I'm still using Office 2000

Yep, me as well, to be honest I cant see the point of some of the recent versions, unless getting annoyed & not achieving much are now regarded as features.

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Pirate

Re: I'm still using Office 2000

Same here. I didn't see anything shiny enough in 2003 to be worth the upgrade. And the ribbon in 2007 totally put me off.

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Re: I'm still using Office 2000

Well, considering you two tightwads are still using a version from 13 years ago, what choice do Microsoft have?

What would you like them do do? Keep patching Office 2000 ad infinitum and have no money for research and development?

I expect downvotes for this, but seriously, they gave you a decent Office product 13 years ago, it wouldn't hurt to buy a new copy would it?

Thank fuck I'm not in the software business.

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Re: I'm still using Office 2000

"I expect downvotes for this, but seriously, they gave you a decent Office product 13 years ago, it wouldn't hurt to buy a new copy would it?"

No downvote here, but nevertheless - if a 13 year old piece of software is still doing everything that is required of it, and most likely much faster than when it was first purchased due to hardware improvements, why would anyone even think about buying a new version (assuming there's no must-have feature in the new version, which has been the case for years as far as I can tell). In fact recent versions of Office seem to have contained actual incentives to avoid upgrades (docx by default, ribbon...)

Not suggesting they should still be supporting 2000 now at all, but why should I be expected to 'up'grade if what I already have works just fine?

As for this subscription model for home users - well, good luck with that one MS. I suspect you'll need it.

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Pirate

Re: I'm still using Office 2000

Well, technically they didn't "give" us the office product 13 years ago, we had to purchase it. And if it's still doing what we need it to do, why would we need to buy a newer version to do pretty much the same thing as the 13-year-old version that we've already paid for? It's not like it's wearing out like a car engine or getting old like a lapdog (or, err, wife...).

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Anonymous Coward

Re: I'm still using Office 2000

"Well, considering you two tightwads are still using a version from 13 years ago"

If you are so upset at MS plight sell your house and post the proceeds to MS !

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Re: I'm still using Office 2000

More to the point, even though for power users Open Office/Libre Office might not be good enough, it staggers me how many people use a tiny fraction of Microsoft Office's functions, yet think they need it and only it. I would guess that at the very least 80% of home users would be able to use OO/LO just fine and I suspect tablets are making people realise just this in the shape of things like Google docs. So, MS trying to charge a subscription, a fecking subscription, strikes me as being utter insanity. I seriously think Microsoft are making some insane decisions at the moment.

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FAIL

Re: I'm still using Office 2000

I expect downvotes for this, but seriously, they gave you a decent Office product 13 years ago, it wouldn't hurt to buy a new copy would it?

Why does this remark remind me of whiny Webmasters from fifteen years ago pissing and moaning on forums about why the users won't "at least click on an ad once in a while"?

I don't know how many other Mac users are reading this thread, but for the record, I've still got Orifice 2004 on my minitower and my laptop; it works fine for what I need to do with it. I fire up Word once in a blue moon to take clients' copy and re-save it as plain text for InDesign, and I fire up Excel even less often to take clients' data sets and create "raw" pie charts and such for gussying-up in Illustrator. I think I launched PowerPoint twice since I installed it. I also recently found a slick little FOSS conversion utility to deal with those goddamned hellspawn... uh, that is, .docx files.

The wife finally got Orifice 2010 for her Macbook about a year after it came out. She uses Word and Excel a little more heavily than I do as her work involves a lot of letter-writing and schedule creation, so moving up made more sense for her.

But, seriously, looks like Microsoft has publicly displayed its cluelessness yet again. Out of all the things I've read here that they're hyping, I've already figured out how to do most of them myself. Share stuff over the Internet? Cripes, that's what email is for, isn't it? Multiple devices? Well, there's my wife's and my laptops, and so far we've had no trouble opening each other's stuff over the house wifi, and I can't possibly think of any occasion at all where the wife is going to need to open a Word or Excel file on her friggin' phone.

I've already downloaded a copy of OpenOffice for OSX and checked it out, and keep it in reserve.

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Pint

Re: I'm still using Office 2000

I'm not sure you did buy it, just a license to use it, it's old so the T&C may be different, but as far as I can tell you still don't own the software , which leaves the only alternative that you are already renting it for a one time charge :)

Personally I use Libreoffice and Kingsoft Office, between them I can do all the docs etc I need on any platform I use ( Linux, Win and Android ) and I rarely have an import problem and if I do then it's no different than someones new shiny Office software generating a format that isn't compatible with my older software - which happens in business to business a heck of a lot.

I've lost track of the number of times when using office 'Office" that I had to write back and ask for a downlevel saved version because the company I was working in hadn't shelled out / rolled out the Latest suite.

As for cloud based solutions, try working in a somewhat rural setting, or on a plane, or even another country where free wifi is not a viable option - right now you won't get a lot of work completed, data roaming charges are usually exorbitant, and dependent how locked down your equipment is you may not be able to get a local sim with a far better data expense.

Did I remember reading that Google docs no longer supports older Word formats ? not sure, but I bet there are a squillion documents in the old formats archived away...

Libreoffice can be run from a memory stick as a valuable backup tool, I never did find a way of running Office that way, although Lotus Notes can run that way, just alter notes.ini to reflect the drive letter of the mem-stick when it's assigned after you plug it in.

Haven't used Symphony for a long time, but with their latest fix pack it should access .xls, .xlsx, .docx or .pptx.

I'm not anti-windows / office, I just found this to be my best alternative while giving me compatibility and flexibility, and of course, saving the software costs for something else.

I primarily use Linux as I have less hassle with hacking, virii, port probes etc etc, and it's faster too, I have Windows [Licensed] running in a VM for those things there is no equivalent for yet on Linux. ( Free or Fee ) .

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Re: I'm still using Office 2000

Google Docs no longer exports the older MS Office formats. It still opens them.

However, that is of course the danger of both Office 365, Google Docs and any other "cloud" solution.

If they want to take a feature away, they can and there's nothing you can do about - not even sue!

Your only possible action is to stop renewing your subscription, and then what?

If you're running your Office application locally, that can't happen.

(That's not completely true of MS Office though, as Windows Update will automatically update it. I'm sure they won't cripple it intentionally.)

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Happy

Re: I'm still using Office 2000

"What would you like them do do? Keep patching Office 2000 ad infinitum and have no money for research and development?"

What research and development?

Sticking in "the Ribbon" and calling that an insightful quantum leap in technology?

Or does changing the year numbers on the packets, make Ballmer worthy of a Nobel piece prize?

Smiley = Microsoft makes my day.

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Re: I'm still using Office 2000

My nice dinner service is 20 years old. Do you expect me to smash the plates and buy a new set to keep Wedgwood's profits up?

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Re: I'm still using Office 2000

Frankly, I've seen no serious improvements in Word since the first few versions for Windows. In fact, the only real change in word processing was when it migrated from Wordstar and Wordperfect (for DOS) to the Windows platform.

WS and WP were highly usable to those who bothered to learn extra keystrokes to embed formatting commands and could live without WYSIWYG. I was fond on an ancient DOS (originally CPM) product called CA's Superwriter which would run from a floppy disk and still have space for documents - though document length limited by 8-bit CPM origins required breaking long pieces into chapters.

In the end, just as any bicycle is a bicycle, a word processor is a word processor and no amount of ribbons or 'helpful' paperclips can really change that. Mostly, packages have bloated with pointless extras and (presumably) poor coding.

Steve 8almer is clutching at straws if he really hopes home users will rent software just to get the latest version.

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Re: I'm still using Office 2000

So many fail arguments and analogies, how old is your car? and therefore the software in your car?

How old is your phone? Your set top box? Your operating system? Your TV?

You can argue it around all you like, but buying Microsoft Office once or twice a decade is really no big deal when you examine it honestly!

Money goes around, deal with it lol, we're all money movers. Microsoft employ people and when we buy stuff from them, they pay people and then those people buy things from Tesco, who pay their people, it's a blindingly simple concept.

I've just realised I'm starting to understand the word freetard lol

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Happy

Re: I'm still using Office 2000

@Ian Johnston

Because you didn't, Wedgwood is no more.

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Devil

Need an Admiral Ackbar icon

I am reminded of the story about Nigerian scams automatically discovering the gullible, because they are the only one who bite in the first place.…

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Re: Microsoft copying Google YET AGAIN @eadon

work had a problem with one of my spreadsheets, they e-mailed it to me and it took two minutes and 20 seconds to open in LibreOffice -- it opens instantly in MS Office -- and it was messed up -- which it wouldn't be in MS Office -- and I had to go in the work to fix it (I was supposed to be off today).

As much as I like LibreOffice and freely admit that it's saved my bacon several times and may be fine for simple home use, the current difference between MS Office and LO is the difference between a professional and a sad attention seeker whose full experience of work probably consists of pressing both sides of burgers to sizzling metal for 12 hours before wandering home to his web connection to rah-rah noisily about something he doesn't really understand, either technically, or more importantly here, in a business context, bringing what he claims to love into disrepute.

Strangely enough, 'idiots' don't mind spending a relatively small amount of money for something that allows them to get their work, valued at tens or hundreds of thousands of pounds a year, done.

BTW you're fucking moron. Please STFU. Please wedge a goat or something into your nylon y-fronts to distract yourself, and grow up some.

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Re: Microsoft copying Google YET AGAIN @eadon

BTW the biggest, biggest, biggest 'feature' that Microsoft could add to the next version of Office is reliability. Its constant ability to crash and burn is what really hurts us at work.

A good 2nd would be decent offline docs for excel functionality. And Access docs are shite but thankfully never again (I hope)

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Happy

Re: Microsoft copying Google YET AGAIN @bluegreen

Clearly this kind of (very valuable) work is over-stressing you. Why not just chill out with a nice glass of wine, in convivial relaxed company.

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Re: Microsoft copying Google YET AGAIN @bluegreen

Wise words! I have in my hand a can of lager (Carling. Well, you can't have it all) and will commence the chillin'...

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Anonymous Coward

Re: Microsoft copying Google YET AGAIN

Have you actually used Google Docs? It sucks donkey dick compared to Office 365. And the 'free' features are also free from Microsoft - but they actually work....

http://office.microsoft.com/en-gb/web-apps-help/get-started-with-office-web-apps-HA101785172.aspx

Microsoft copied Google?! lol Errrm but I think Microsoft were in this market a loooong time before Google even existed....

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Re: Microsoft copying Google YET AGAIN @eadon

> It will screw up the formatting in small or large ways.

Quite possibly - if you use the wrong version of office! But if you use the correct version of office then it works! Which is why MS lockin of office continues. I'm sorry, I realise this is hard for you to comprehend.

Let me put it another way

If I can take a contract job (like I'm on at the mo) earning ££££ but which needs MS office, and I don't buy MS office, then I lose ££££ because I can't do the job.

If however I pay £ for MS office 2010 then I can take the job and I have made ££££ - £ = £££ profit.

Now, for reasons you've admitted, LO won't do the trick.

Still confused?

OK let's compromise in a way that satisfies us both: I'll use LO if you give me the £££ that I would have earned from the job that I can't do and therefore won't get paid for because LO doesn't cut it. This means I I don't lose out and your principles are upheld. Win-Win!

So, are you going to recompense me out of your own pocket or not? Yes or no?

It's easy to be pure if it's another person's livelihood, so --- yes or no?

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Re: Microsoft copying Google YET AGAIN @eadon

I'm quite curious to know what kind of company/sector absolutely requires ms office, and demand that you buy it.

Except a job at Microsoft of course...

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Re: Microsoft copying Google YET AGAIN @eadon

It's hard for me to imagine any business sector that doesn't use MS Office. I've been around a bit and never seen anything else installed.

If someone e-mails you something that is not text or PDF then chances are it's in Word. If I have to produce anything with a bit of formatting then almost certainly the recipients will have Word installed.

As for Excel, it might be something of a dog but at least it's a known dog. Anyone who does anything serious with spreadsheets for a living is very unlikely to trust anything else -- they can't afford to, and if they've had Excel for a while then they will have locked themselves in with their own macros and VBA.

Microsoft wins, unfortunately. It's *the* standard & that's that.

(To be fair the contract job I'm doing at the moment does not hinge absolutely upon MS Office, but past and (hopefully) future contracts will).

I can say from experience that even if LO was functionally identical to Excel, the user interface leaves much to be desired. To Microsoft's credit, they've done a lot of polishing on it (shame the bastard won't stop corrupting itself).

I, in turn, am curious about your question -- how can you *not* find MS Office to be pervasive? In what sector do you work?

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Paris Hilton

Re: Microsoft copying Google YET AGAIN @eadon

@bluegreen. Agreed, but what has that to do with M$ ? Agree that OO is slow with spreadsheets. However, the issue is, did it work correctly ?

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Re: Microsoft copying Google YET AGAIN @eadon

> However, the issue is, did it work correctly ?

Emphatically it did not.

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Re: Microsoft copying Google YET AGAIN

Office365 is a Windows only sollution so one can argue if it is web based software or a last century fat client solution in disguise?

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Angel

Re: Microsoft copying Google YET AGAIN @eadon

(some blather about wordperfect)

You are a prize pillock with zero real-world experience, no business sense and apparently naff-all common sense who genuinely can't see the mechanics of MS' regrettably succesful lockin (and are thereby reduced to impotent shouting about your Precious and so damaging its prospects in the market).

...Or maybe you aren't, so I must repeat my question of an earlier thread: are you an MS shill? You didn't answer that. Witless or a shill, which is it?

You are starting to get entertaining. Icon is honour of you - he's smiling too.

(and just on the offchance you really think I'm pro MS, <http://forums.theregister.co.uk/forum/1/2012/07/16/office_2013_preview_release/#c_1477462>)

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