Office for Mere Mortals helps people around the world get more from Word, Excel, PowerPoint and Outlook. Delivered once a week. free.
Office Watch met with Office 365 spokesman, Morrocos Fieffit, for a few drinks and this exclusive interview about the changes and fees with Office 366.
Quickly, what’s Office 366?
“Office 366 is an enhancement to Office 365 to deal with the extra day in the 2020 leap year.
Office 365 is a 365 day per year service. The extra day in a leap year, like 2020, isn’t part of that.
Office 366 is a continuous service supplement. Customers can pay in advance for the otherwise unpaid day of software and services.
For a fee around $8 they can continue to use Office 365 software and services normally on 29 Feb 2020.”
It seems like a surprise.
“Really? It’s not like we buried this in the fine print.
The name of the product is ‘Office 365’. The length of service is right there in the title.”
Some customers will be shocked
“Frankly, it’s not just customers we have to consider.
Microsoft has been under a lot of pressure from market analysts. The MSFT stock price has only risen 82% in the last two years, which isn’t enough.
Management feels we need more to reassure the market that we’re laser focused on shareholder value.
The 2020 leap year gave us the opportunity to generate extra income with little cost, just the thing to give Wall St quants a delighted tingle.”
Even so, there’ll be resistance
“Maybe a few customers will feel hard done by. We hope those folks will appreciate the upside. It’s a day of rest from Microsoft Office.”
Office 366 costs $8. That’s a lot when a day of Office 365 Home is only 27 cents
“May I say, the media often make the mistake of thinking that the price of a product should be judged on the cost of manufacture. That’s never been true in the history of capitalism and it’s definitely not true for software and cloud services. “
Charge what the market will bear
“Right. The main factor in price management is what the customers will accept. It’s the main reason why Office 365 prices vary across the globe. Your Office 365 global price comparison makes that point (though we wish you hadn’t). We base our prices on how much customers in each country are prepared to pay. Comparison with the US price or our costs is a trivial part of the equation.”
Were there other options considered for the 2020 leap year?
“Having Office 366 as a special leap year plan with increased prices was considered.
For example, Office 366 Home 2020 full-year package would have cost $115 instead of $100.”
Did Microsoft consider not charging for the extra day?
“<laughs>. Hello, we’re Microsoft, have we met before?
Seriously, no. Maybe someone thought about not charging for 29 February 2020 but voicing that idea would be a career killer at Redmond.”
What about OneDrive?
“Office 365 customers are reduced to the free 5GB limit in 29 February, otherwise they’ll lose all their files.
Losing all that data is a great incentive to buy Office 366.
Some customers will scramble to offload files from OneDrive in late February then upload them all again in early March. But our projections are that most will pay for Office 366 to keep their 1TB quota for the leap day and save all that hassle.
Don’t panic or start moving files now. It’s almost a year before this happens.”
29 February ‘Office 366’ is based on Seattle time for everyone around the world?
“Yes, it was easiest for us to change Office 365 access privileges based on our home time zone on the West Coast.
It also means we get a decent night’s sleep. No need to monitor systems for over 24 hours as the leap day progresses across time zones.”
Won’t the different definitions of leap day confuse customers?
“<shrug> Our FAQ explains it. “
This interview has been edited. The many repeated drinks and hors d’oeuvre orders have been removed for brevity.
Office Watch has the latest news and tips about Microsoft Office. Independent since 1996. Delivered once a week.