The New Microsoft Office Is Now Available To 'Buy'

Microsoft Office is out of beta and ready to buy. Well, sort of. You "buy" the newest version of Office like you "buy" Spotify -- with a subscription. And it makes a hell of a lot of sense.

Microsoft Office is usually a big purchase or no purchase at all -- sometimes it comes with your computer, sometimes you have to shell out for the latest version. Not anymore: Office 365 Home Premium, which includes the kitchen sink, doesn't need to come on a disc costing hundreds of dollars. You can pay for Office for only as long as you need it. In Australia, it costs $12 per month or $119 upfront for one year (and save $25).

Either way, you'll get a lot more from Microsoft than you have in the past: the entire suite (2013 on Windows, 2011 on a Mac) can be installed across five devices simultaneously (tablets, laptops, whatever), streaming versions of whichever application you happen to need can be beamed to any computer you're on with an internet connection, and all of your files will be synced as you work, whether you edit them on, your tablet or your Windows Phone (if you've got one). You will even pick up an extra 20GB of SkyDrive storage and an hour of free global Skype calling each year.

The subscription also includes upgrades to any future versions of the suite, so you don't need to fret about upgrade discs. A four-year "University" subscription will also be on the table for a very binge drinking-friendly $99. If this sharing, streaming thing sounds like some sort of socialist plot to you, you can pay a flat $169 for the home or $299 for the business editions, locking them to a single computer for all eternity.

OK, yes, it's still Office. It's the best version of Office -- touch-friendly, simplified, less horrific on the eyes -- but it's still that software you have to use for work. Check out our hands-on here. But odds are Office isn't an interesting choice for you; it's just part of being a productive part of society that needs to mess around with .doc files like all the rest of us stiffs.

This isn't going to be the most exciting change in your life. But it will be a welcome one. Microsoft spread across all of your computer, the web and (maybe) your phone makes sense. Paying for it while you feel like owning it makes sense -- you'll keep all your documents if you decide to go elsewhere, don't worry. Being able to stream the software to computers off your beaten path makes sense. And not having to futz around with upgrades is just lovely. If you want Office, keep feeding the meter, and the rest should be pretty smooth. You can pick it up here today. [Office 365]



    Did they change the default file formats again, so that they're incompatible with previous versions? Or will Office 2010 be able to read Office 365 files without compatibility issues?

    And did they fix that annoying ''touch several times til it eventually registers'' bug that was evident in the early version released for RT? That would drive me crazy.

    $12/month doesn't seem like much, for 5 licenses, if it works and doesn't create incompatible files.

      Nope, formats are the same for the foreseeable future.

      Office 2003 could even read the new file format after a sw update. One of the best things about Microsoft is backward compatibility.

    OK, but why is the normal subscription $99 in the US and $119 here and the University edition $80 in the US and $99 here? Oh wait, I forgot, they have to factor shipping in. Really, these differences are unjustified. Could I join via the US site and pay $99 US?

      It's something to do with population and markets I think. America is a larger potential market and can price accordingly for their 50 million+ population. Australia has just under 23 million to sell to, and less money to be made by the company. I mean for $20 more I guess it's easy to only glance once and look away. If it was any more than $50 I'd probably say wtf.

        right because your potential market A will willingly pay more than your potential market B, when they see the price discrepancy

        Ahhh, America has close to 320million people....

      Well, maybe they need the extra money for that Australian data centre they're ... wait, what's that Microsoft Australia CTO Greg Stone from 2011:

      “We’re not at the point now where the business can sustain us making a significant investment in Australia to put something like a public cloud of that nature here because it doesn’t make any economic sense, particularly if we want to deliver it at the price point comparative.”

      @migster1965, great point but please remember that our Tax is included in the price by law and in the US it changes from state to state from about 8 to 18% and in not included.. If you factor that in its probably not worth the the rant....

      Is the $99 you quote inclusive of the US sales tax, which US retailers are not required to advise of while the GST is required to be included in prices advertised in Australia?

    $10-12 per month, or $299 forever. So, we should expect a new Office before June 2015? Otherwise, that's a lot of money for a crippled SharePoint to replace my Dropbox. And if I want to use someone else's computer, that's what Google Docs ("sorry, "Drive") is for. Might be worth it if they threw in Visio or Project.

    Maybe I'll get the student version to play with, but for now, just give me the box copy, thanks.

    Last edited 30/01/13 9:42 am

    Love the Home Use Program. $15 Pro :)

      Thanks for reminding me about this!
      Checked and yeap I can get it under HUP.
      It's pay day too.

        Your key is actually built into the download this time, you don't need to activate it. By the time it finishes installing it's all activated and ready to go.

          Sweet. That makes things a bit easier.
          Just purchased it.
          Now just have to wait until I get home to install it.
          Made the stupid mistake last time of installing it on my laptop which I just have at work for testing.
          So really didn't need it on it.
          And recently the *ahem* "workaround" I had on my home pc for office stopped work. Stupid office update.
          So the timing of this works well. :)

    I use Google Docs for simple documents, and Open Office for more complicated and powerpoint presentations.

    Costs me a total 0 dollars, on a 0 dollar a month plan.

      Too bad Open Office is a steaming pile of craaaap.

        its not crap but it have a lot of issues working with complex documents (especially the ones that were done in MS environment) : (

          It is crap. Incredibly slow and a massive resource hog.

            i have to agree, it is terrible. people speak about how good and great it is, but the truth is it feels like office 98. Office has come a long way since and has honestly left it in the dust.

            Even google docs with its basic editing is better than it.

    What I'd really like to know is what happens if you decide to cancel your subscription? Do you still get to use office on your computer, but lose all the extra crap or are you cut off completely unless you pay extra for the standalone version?

    I use libreoffice in ubuntu and find that while it's not nearly as resource intensive as MS office, I have to sadly admit that it does fall short, especially in the powerpoint department. Formatting just gets completely mucked up.

    At uni I type all of my notes and the bulk of assignment text in libre, but when it comes to paginating, footnotes and references I have to open it in Word to put the finesse in to it.

    Can anyone upgrade using the MS upgrade offer or are you getting errors too?

    Go to and sign up
    Get free Office and 7GB skydrive storage
    Total cost: Nothing
    I don't need the half baked SharePoint workspaces.

    Why would I spend $119 yearly subscription and get nothing? Instead of $88 (Office Student & teacher edition) for something I own for life.

    $270 savings is a lot of money. Better yet so is $300 savings and using or Google services.

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