Office 365 gets Personal

Where’s the value in Office 365 Personal?

Microsoft has announced a new, lower price point for Office 365 subscriptions (rentals).

Office 365 Personal will costs US$6.99 per month or US$69.99 a year (plus tax) at first. For that you get:

  • Office for Windows or Office for Mac – one transferable licence.

  • Tablet version of Office – one transferable licence. Microsoft specifically used the term ‘tablet’ which may turn out to mean Office Mobile apps more generally.

  • An extra 20GB of OneDrive storage

  • 60 minutes per month of calls from Skype to many phones around the world.

Since it’s intended for one person, there’s no ability to share the software among other people.

Use of the ‘term’ tablet in the announcement is interesting because there’s no tablet versions of Office at this time (probably soon, but not now). It’s unclear whether Microsoft intends to allow ‘Personal’ customers to use Office Mobile apps on phones and tablets or just one tablet specific license. At present Home/Home Premium customers can use Office Mobile on up to five devices.

You can’t get Office 365 Personal now – it’s ‘coming this Spring’ which presumably means sometime before the end of May 2014.

As with all Office 365 offers, the price is suspiciously low. Compared to buying an ongoing Office licence, the price is very enticing however there’s no guarantee of future pricing.

Where’s the value in Office 365 Personal?

The value of Office 365 Personal is mostly for Microsoft.

It gives a lower price point to promote – Microsoft can say ‘Get Office from just $7 a month’ which is even better than the ‘$9.99’ number they’ve used for the last year.

The ‘Personal’ package is designed to appeal to people who have partly moved to tablets and are at risk of dropping Microsoft Office entirely. Office 365 Personal is sadly quite limited. A more useful package would have been two software licences so customers could use Office on a desktop and laptop computer combination. This would restore the useful and long-standing licencing offer that the company dropped. Sure, some people will have a desktop and tablet device, but more regular Office users have a Windows desktop and Windows laptop combination. Microsoft figures they can gouge more money out of twin Windows users.

Home Premium becomes Home

Also interesting is that Office 365 Home Premium has been quietly renamed ‘Office 365 Home’ which suggests a change in future marketing strategies.

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