Microsoft has announced the availability of Office 365 for consumers,
which features the company's updated office suite in addition to access
to certain cloud services that also includes additional storage space on
SkyDrive, its cloud based storage service.
The Office 365 Home
Premium service includes Office applications - Word, Excel, PowerPoint,
OneNote, Outlook, Publisher and Access, 20 GB of SkyDrive cloud storage,
and future updates. What's interesting is that the office suite is now
available in a subscription based model, where users can pay an annual
or monthly charge, and get a license to use the product across five PCs
or Macs and five mobile devices (major Office apps are only available
for Windows Phone and some Symbian devices, at the moment). This
essentially means that after subscribing to the Office 365 service, a
user can install the office suite on five PCs or Macs. The user will
also be able to create and edit documents via Microsoft's web-apps for
the office suite, and sync documents in the cloud. In India, the Office
suite is available for purchase at an annual subscription of Rs. 4,199.
Microsoft is also offering a 30 day free trial to users, although
they'll have to submit their Credit Card details to the company, at the
time of signing-up, and will have to manually cancel their subscription
before the trial expires.
The Microsoft Office website
also mentions a monthly subscription price of Rs. 420, which amounts to
Rs 5,020, annually. However, executives at Microsoft India informed that
even if a customer chooses the monthly option, it's required that he
commits to pay for one year. We were able to sign-up for the free trial,
and after selecting the monthly payment option, were informed that we'd
be charged once the trial expires.
We noticed that after
downloading the Office set-up files (on a Windows 8 PC), the installer
quickly installs application shortcuts, and allows users to start using
the application they desire, while pushing other set-up files in the
background. We did encounter some minor hiccups while working within an
app, while the installation was in progress.
also announced that it will now deliver many new features and services
to the cloud first, changing the company's traditional three-year
release cycle. It mentioned that new features and services will stream
to subscribers as soon as they're ready, eliminating the hassles of
updating and keeping subscribers always up-to-date.
also introduced Office apps with this release, offering third-party
apps, essentially plugins that extend the functionality of the program,
within the office suite.For example, an app allows users to open and
convert PDF documents to Microsoft Word files. Microsoft declined to
share the number of Indian app developers working with the company for
this app store but said that they were indeed working with some
partners. According to a report by ReadWriteWeb, the app store offers
200 such apps, at the moment.
Besides, Office365 for
consumers, Microsoft has also announced the availability of the updated
FPP(Full Package Product) version of its traditional Office suite for
consumers - Office Home and Student 2013. The Microsoft website has some
details on the pricing - The Office Home and Student 2013 suite is
available for Rs. 5,499, Office Home & Business 2013 for Rs 13,499
and Office Professional 2013 is available at a price of Rs. 24,999.