Office 365 Personal arrives

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As promised, there’s now a cheaper Office 365 option.

Microsoft has now released Office 365 Personal, a lower cost rental option for Office software.

The ‘Personal’ subscription/rental option costs US$6.99 per month (US$69.99 a year) plus any state taxes. For that you get:

  • Use of the current Office software for Windows or Mac on ONE computer.

    • That includes Word, Excel, PowerPoint and Outlook on Windows & Mac plus Publisher and Access for Windows only.

  • Use of Office for iPad or on Windows tablets for ONE device.
  • An extra 20GB of OneDrive storage
  • 60 minutes of ‘world’ calling per month via Skype.

Microsoft mentions other ‘benefits’ of Office 365 packages like:

  • “Easy access on Android phones, iPhones, and Windows Phones”
  • “Online versions of Office Word, Excel, PowerPoint, and OneNote”
  • “Offline storage – Save documents to your PC”

That’s quite misleading. The Office mobile apps for smartphones where made free for home use in late March. Office Online is available to anyone with a free OneDrive account and anyone can install the OneDrive Windows or Mac software for offline syncing of data (Windows 8.1 has included).

There’s no free trial of Office 365 Personal.

In the online promotion Microsoft talks about “Stay in touch on the go with Windows tablets and iPads®” which is interesting because there is no Office for Windows tablets at this stage. At the moment, on Windows tablet devices you have to install Office for Windows. A sign of things to come?

On a ‘cost per device’ then Office 365 Home gives you better pricing at US$9.99 per month for five installs on PC/Mac and tablets. But not everyone needs five licences so Office 365 Personal fills that gap.

On the other hand, if you have the common setup of a desktop and laptop computer, then Office 365 Personal isn’t really suitable.

It also lets Microsoft promote a lower headline price for Office 365 – “Only $6.99 a month”.

An alternative to renting with Office 365 Personal is Office Home and Student 2013 or Home and Business 2013. The latter has one permanent licence for Word, Excel, PowerPoint, OneNote and Outlook officially sells for US$220.

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