Microsoft have now firmed up prices and SKUs for the various parts of its Office suite, so it seems like a good time to review the offerings. Inevitably a lot of focus is on the ‘Cloud’ offering, Office 365. As well as competing directly with other online office suites, this is also seen as an opportunity for Microsoft to push users onto a subscription based licensing model and secure a regular income stream from consumers. This paradigm shift in how we license and use office products is causing some ripples in the pond – which version is needed? How should we license it? What are the product usage rights? Hopefully I’ll be able to set a few things straight and outline what the new Microsoft Office system means for businesses.
Microsoft are keeping it simple with the retail editions, offering the familiar 3 boxed products (jargon: FPP – Full Packaged Product) – Home Business, Home Student and Professional editions of Office 2013. All of these are perpetual licenses – you buy once and keep using. These are single device licenses, ie. you can only install each copy on one computer (although you can transfer the software to another PC if required). The retail editions are also being distributed ‘medialess’ ie. without a DVD or CD – you get a keycard and have to download the software over the internet. All the office applications are also available to buy retail individually, although the cost of doing so is generally prohibitive (£70-80/each).
- Office 2013 Home and Student – includes Excel / Powerpoint / OneNote / Word. Not licensed for commercial use. Price point: £80-90
- Office 2013 Home and Business – includes Excel /Powerpoint / OneNote / Word / Outlook. Price point: £160-180
- Office 2013 Professional – includes Excel /Powerpoint / OneNote / Word / Outlook / Access / Publisher. Price point: £300-350
- Other Office products such as Project and Visio are available as standalone retail SKUs.
Volume Licensing Editions
There are only two editions of Office 2013 for volume licensing, which are Office 2013 Standard and Office 2013 Professional Plus. Microsoft licensing can be an intimidating and complicated topic, so please contact BlueCompute if you need assistance determining the correct package for your business. Amongst the different options are to buy outright or license on subscription, to pay up front or spread the cost over several years, and whether or not to purchase Software Assurance.
- Office 2013 Standard – includes Excel /Powerpoint / OneNote / Word / Outlook / Publisher. Price point example – 30 licenses on an Open Licensing Programme agreement, perpetual license, paid up front = approx £300 / license
- Office 2013 Professional Plus – includes Excel /Powerpoint / OneNote / Word / Outlook / Publisher / Access / InfoPath / Lync. Price point example – 30 licenses on an Open Licensing Programme agreement, perpetual license, paid up front = approx £500 / license
Office 365 Editions
As previously mentioned, Office 365 is the product that is being pushed hardest by Microsoft and unsurprisingly it comes in the greatest number of flavours. This is also due to the larger range of options and services that Microsoft are offering here – the Office 365 banner doesn’t just cover the actual office software, but includes instant messaging, webmail, web hosting and cloud storage services. Here’s how the SME offerings of Office 365 break down:
- Exchange Online Plan 1 – this is simply a hosted Exchange email service with a 25GB mailbox, with no Office programs – £2.60/user/month
- Exchange Online Plan 2 – this is the premium hosted Exchange service which provides all the features of Exchange 2010 SP2, with a 25GB mailbox and unlimited archival space as well as advanced legal discovery and compliance tools – £5.20/user/month
- Office 365 Small Business – This provides email (as Exchange Online Plan 1), Sharepoint for internal and external websites and 7GB of SkyDrive cloud storage per user. This plan also includes the Office Web Apps, which are limited functionality versions of Word, OneNote, PowerPoint and Excel, delivered in an internet browser – Maximum 25 users on this plan – £3.30/user/month
- Office 365 Small Business Premium – email, SkyDrive, Sharepoint as above, the Premium feature on this plan is the inclusion of full desktop versions of Office Professional 2013. Each user can install the Office suite on 5 devices (including a Remote Desktop Server aka Terminal Services) – Maximum 25 users on this plan – £8.40/user/month
- Office 365 Midsize Business – Exchange, SkyDrive and Sharepoint as above. This package offers managed mailboxes in Exchange, Sharepoint intranet sites and full desktop Office software – The Midsize Business plan supports up to 300 users – £9.80/user/month
- Office 365 Pro Plus – For organisations that don’t need or want the Exchange and Sharepoint options, this plan just covers the Office software, delivered as 5 desktop licenses, Office on Demand and Office Web Apps – £10.10/user/month
- Visio and Project are both available as ‘bolt-on’ subscriptions with Office 365 – Microsoft Project Pro for Office 365 @ 22.20/user/month & Visio Pro for Office 365 @ £8.50/user/month
Well, that’s the product line-up, but what does it mean? For a start we can see that over a 2 or 3 year period the subscription model is going to cost the business more than buying a single FPP copy of Office (up to twice as much?), but on the other hand this will come with benefits over FPP, such as the 5 installs you get with O365 and hosted Exchange. The Office 365 pitch is aimed at tying businesses in to Microsoft products, particularly the hosted email services, so if you intend to continue running in-house mailservers or using another provider then a lot of value is lost and you end up paying over the odds for office apps. On the other hand, Office 365 can (just about) be deployed as a complete replacement for on-premises servers for filing, email, user authentication and collaboration. When factored against the investment, hardware, license and maintenance costs saved by not running in-house IT operations, O365 suddenly looks like a compelling sell.
Get in touch if you’d like to take advantage of our free consultation and discuss what Office 365 could do for you.