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Microsoft 365 ads appearing in Office 2021

Microsoft has started dropping ads into Office 2021 in another attempt to switch customers off single-payment Microsoft Office and on to the annual ‘subscription’ Microsoft 365.

UPDATED: this article now updated after hearing from some Office Watch readers (always a handy way to find out what’s really happening with Office software!).

Office 2021 users are reporting a new message appearing in their apps.  We’ve seen it ourselves …

For just $0.99. get 3 months of Microsoft 365 Family and share with up to 5 people.
It is like getting six subscriptions in one. TERMS APPLY”

The message is appearing in various languages and regions across the globe.

Too similar to ‘Enable Content’ button

Microsoft has used their standard Office message bar format. That was the easiest option for Microsoft but perhaps not the best choice, because it’s waay too similar to the ‘Enable Content’ button.

Making the 99¢ offer message disappear

The message bar / offer should disappear once you click on ‘Redeem now’ or the X close button at far right.

Old Office hands won’t be surprised that the offer message is sometimes ‘sticky’ and won’t go away. We’ve been reminded that there was a similar problem with an offer message appearing in Office 2010!

About the offer

The offer is limited to people who see the link in their copy of Office 2021.

From the 99¢ offer web page

Even then, seeing the offer in your Office 2021 is NO guarantee that you qualify. There’s plenty of reports from people who have tried to get the 99¢ offer, only to be refused as ‘ineligible’.

According to the ‘fine print’:

“This offer is for select customers only who don’t have an active Microsoft 365 subscription or trial, or subscribers who have recently cancelled. This offer doesn’t work if forwarded to friends and family. It’s unique to your personal Microsoft Account.”

The offer is quite (deliberately?) vague. In the FAQ it says “This offer is only for select users who meet specific criteria.”. It’s possible not all of those criteria are disclosed. That might explain why some people trying to use the offer are told they aren’t eligible.

To take up the offer, you have to use the same Microsoft account (email address) as the Office 2021 is registered to.

One example of the vague offer is this in the deal FAQ … “When does this offer end?”“Please refer to the terms and conditions of the offer.”. However the T&C’s just below that text does NOT include an end date.

The closest Microsoft comes to an end date is the usual text: “We reserve the right to modify, suspend or terminate the offer at any time.”. It’s unusual for Microsoft to omit an end date or at least some indication like “… for a limited time.”

Microsoft 365 Personal might be better

The 99 cent deal is for Microsoft 365 Family, the more expensive plan which can cover up to six people.

Is that the most appropriate deal? Users of Office 2021 or Office 2019 are probably solo Office users because perpetual license Office can only be installed on one computer at a time.

In many cases the cheaper Microsoft 365 Personal would be the better choice. ‘Personal’ is for one person only but Office software can be installed on multiple machines.

You could try the 99 cent deal then switch to Microsoft 365 Personal when the trial nears it’s end.

If you don’t like Microsoft 365, just uninstall it and reinstall the Office 2021 software.

All about Office 2021 for Windows & Mac
Does Office 2021 / 2019 need sign-in to a Microsoft account?

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