Microsoft is now offering a 15 month ‘Special Edition’ for Office 365 Home or Personal. Are they a good deal or just a gimmick to get attention? We’ve run the numbers and it turns out to be a bit of both.
These 15-month editions are being sold by some retailers, not all. Not even Microsoft itself is offering Office 365 15-month package. Try Costco (members only) or NewEgg (has extra conditions). These bundles seem to be mostly in the USA but can pop up in other parts of the world.
As always with buying Office 365, Microsoft makes things a lot more complicated than it first appears.
Working out if these offers are a good deal is a simple calculation. Not even Excel is required, but since we’re a Microsoft Office site, we’ve done a worksheet anyway <g>.
Looking at the US price per month comparing the high official Office 365 price with the 15-month price
On that basis, the 15-month offer is pretty good. 28% cheaper for Office 365 Home (six people) and 20% for Personal (one person).
However, Office 365 can be bought for less than the official price. In fact Office-Watch.com has always urged our readers to ‘never pay retail’ and get Office 365 for less when it’s on sale.
Comparing lower US street prices for Office 365 with the 15-month deal narrows or removes the overall discount.
Deal or No Deal?
In short: the 15-month offers aren’t as good as they first appear, but are at the lower end of regular street prices. If you can get a 15-month Office 365, you’ll have saved money.
Office 365 Home 15-month is still a very good price. Cheaper prices are usually available during the year but overall, it’s at the lower end of the price range.
Not so great for Office 365 Personal, however that low $50 street price might not happen before your next expiry. Discounts on O365 Personal aren’t as common so if you can get a 15-month deal, it’s probably worth taking.
OK for renewals
These 15-month Office 365 offers can be used to extend to expiry of a matching Office 365 plan.
Microsoft would prefer people to automatically renew because that’s always at the highest price. More profit for Microsoft.
It’s perfectly ‘legal’ to buy Office 365 Home or Personal from a reputable retailer and use the product key to update your account and extend the Office 365 expiry date.
Gimmick? Out of Stock?
These 15-month packs might be a sales gimmick a bit of a ‘bait and switch’ like the Office 365 with gift card offers which disappear soon after getting a lot of free promotion.
Many retailers are reporting they are ‘out of stock’ which is silly. Customer are quite right to complain.
This isn’t a physical product that requires printing and shipping. It’s all electronic with Office 365 Product Keys issued by Microsoft at their discretion.
If there’s a shortage of product, it’s an artificial shortage created by Microsoft.