How Microsoft is nudging us towards Office 365

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Microsoft has an unstated policy of degrading perpetual licence Office in favor of the annual payments for Office 365.

This is happening in lots of little steps. Nothing major to alienate customers but enough incremental changes to shift the balance in favor of annual Office 365 payments.  It’s a form of nudge theory applied to software marketing.

Here’s just a few of the disadvantages to buying Office 2016/2019 perpetual licence, things that Microsoft has done to make Office 365 appear the better option.


The major step is the price.  Office 2016 for Windows, Home and Business retails for us$229 with few discounts available.   Expect the same type of pricing for Office 2019.

Less programs

Even that high price doesn’t include Publisher or Access as Office 365 plans do.

One Computer only

Perpetual Licence purchases of Office 2016 are for a single computer only.

Not even the two licence ‘desktop and laptop’ allowance we used to get when buying Microsoft Office.

No access to tablet or smartphone enhanced apps that Office 365 customers get.

The nearest equivalent Office 365 option is the Personal plan which supports one computer, one tablet or one smartphone.  For two computers, the best Office 365 plan is Home with five computers allowed.

Reduced Support

Microsoft is supposed to have a ‘Fixed Lifecycle Policy’ for perpetual licence Office but it’s no more fixed than Redmond’s convenience.

For Office 2019, customers won’t get the full ten years of support and patches Microsoft promotes in their ‘Fixed Lifecycle Policy’.  Microsoft has arbitrarily reduced the Office 2019 support from ten years to seven years.

They announced this as an aside below news that Office 2019 would be for Windows 10 only.  Despite that not being a big surprise, most of the media headlined the ‘Win 10 only’ item and few mentioned the support cut back.  A nifty little PR trick by Microsoft.

Feature Gap

There’s a deliberate and growing feature gap between the subscription and perpetual licence versions of Office for Windows.

‘Perpetual Licence’ Office is essentially ‘fixed’ with no new or changed features while Office for subscribers get a flow of extras.

Anyone with perpetual licence Office might be interested whenever they read about something ‘new’ in Office, only to discover they are missing out.  Microsoft hopes those customers will feel they are missing out and switch to annual payments.

The little things ….

That’s all the big differences, but there’s also little extras for Office 365 Personal/Home plans that can ‘tip the balance’ in favor of paying annually.  Extras like cloud storage, mail hosting and free global phone calls.

These ‘bonuses’ also link Office 365 customers into Microsoft’s online services, making it harder for people to switch away from MS Office and Windows in the future.

No Terabyte of cloud storage

Office 365 customers get a Terabyte of OneDrive storage.  Perpetual licences customers don’t get anything beyond the usual free allowance.

No Premium

Office 365 customers now get the ‘premium’ mail storage with 50GB of space and ad-free online interface.

No Skype

Office perpetual licence users don’t get 60 minutes a month of Skype call time.  Use that to call from your computer/device to standard phone numbers in many countries.

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