Print 26 comment(s) - last by Fireshade.. on Aug 2 at 5:36 AM

  (Source: Microsoft)
Office 365, subscription is required and there's no support for tablets

Microsoft Corp. (MSFT) has been pushing hard to drum up support for its Office 365 suite of cloud-connected productivity products.  The service costs $9.99 USD per month or $99.99 USD per year.  Ultimately that's a pretty good profit opportunity for Microsoft, given that a full-blown Office suite costs around $100-140 USD at its cheapest for basic personal computer editions.  

Microsoft is justifying the relatively high subscription fees with the perk of universal access -- having your data stored on the cloud and accessible anywhere.  While Windows 8.1 is expected to offer identical functionality in the standard Office applications via the ability to save to SkyDrive, the other upside to this location-agnostic access is that it essentially acts like an unlimited floating license for home users (where as standard Office is limited to a small number of PCs, sometimes just one).

Until June, the only people who could access Office on the go were Windows Phone users (Windows Phones come preloaded with free lightweight Office mobile clients).  In June Microsoft added "Office Mobile" to Apple, Inc.'s (AAPL) App Store.  

Office Mobile Android Office Mobile Android Office Mobile Android

Available on iPads and iPhones, the app has drawn pretty poor reviews, earning just 2.5/5 stars from the Apple legion.  Criticisms include:
  • Office 365 subscription is required, although app is free
  • The lack of a dedicated tablet (iPad) layout
  • No undo/redo options
  • No ability to edit/insert images into documents (except in One Note)
  • No chart editing/insertion functionality
Now Microsoft has launched another version of the Office Mobile app for Google, Inc.'s (GOOG) Play Store.  The Android version has thus far drawn 3.5/5 stars, a slightly warmer reception than the app for Apple saw.  The criticism for the Android app echoes the Apple one, though:

Reviews of Office Mobile for Android
  • No tablet support
  • Crashes
  • Won't open many DOCX/PPTX/etc. files
  • No support for password-protected files
  • Text formatting options missing from some apps
Some enterprise device buyers have previously cited Office Mobile as a reason to switch to Windows Phone.  Despite the criticism of the product, losing exclusivity is clearly a bit of a blow for Windows Phone.  That said, it does add more value to an Office 365 subscription.  In (calendar) Q2 2013 Microsoft saw $1.5B USD in Office 365 revenue, indicating around 50-60 million users.

Office for Android  iPhone Office Mobile

On Android devices the primary competition is the (free) Google Drive, while on i-devices there's Apple's $9.99 (each) iWork apps (e.g. PagesNumbers, and Keynote).  Other popular mobile documents apps include KingsoftQuickofficeDocuments to Go, and OfficeSuite.  Ironically, these third-party solutions have many of the features that Office Mobile users are griping about the lack of (e.g. the ability to insert charts in a spreadsheet).

Sources: Google Play, Microsoft, Apple iTunes

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Facepalm Microsoft...
By retrospooty on 7/31/2013 4:26:26 PM , Rating: 3
"Microsoft is justifying the relatively high subscription fees with the perk of universal access -- having your data stored on the cloud and accessible anywhere."

Let me get this straight... $10 a month and its justified by having data stored in the cloud? The CLOUD? You mean that thing that you can do for 100% free via Google Drive or dropbox or any number of other services?

RE: Facepalm Microsoft...
By Reclaimer77 on 7/31/2013 4:36:20 PM , Rating: 1
Seriously what kind of sucker is going to use this? When Android already comes baked-in with far better, for free!

Open Office+Google Drive > this nonsense.

RE: Facepalm Microsoft...
By Monkey's Uncle on 7/31/2013 7:45:09 PM , Rating: 2
Seriously what kind of sucker is going to use this? When Android already comes baked-in with far better, for free!

Not this one!

Unfortunately Microsoft is quite adept at finding suckers.

RE: Facepalm Microsoft...
By Samus on 7/31/2013 8:30:52 PM , Rating: 2
Even Skydrive is free for 5GB (25GB for grandfathered Hotmail users)

RE: Facepalm Microsoft...
By phatboye on 7/31/2013 9:16:39 PM , Rating: 3
Where is this Open Office for that is already baked into Android that you speak of?

RE: Facepalm Microsoft...
By GulWestfale on 7/31/2013 10:28:32 PM , Rating: 2
i write books and only need MS word compatibility to do that. i do actually write things on my phone (with a bluetooth keyboard), and i write and save them in the free kingsoft office app. it's more than enough for what i need it for, and i don't need something as fancy-sounding as cloud access to email myself a copy of what i wrote, or to transfer it onto my desktop via a simple USB cable when i get home.

sure, there are corporations who need their roadwarriors to have access to the "real" MS office, with all its features; but i would think that especially on android this represents a minority of people. those who really depend on office to get the job done already have a laptop or ultrabook 9and i hear 5 or 6 people actually bought a surface tablet, good for them!).

for everyone else, free solutions like kingsoft office are going to be good enough. and by the way, 10 bucks a month for a program that costs 100 bucks is a lot. over several years of use you're paying much more than what you would have paid for a desktop version... here's an idea, MS: why don't you simply package the desktop version with a free mobile client app?

RE: Facepalm Microsoft...
By nafhan on 8/1/2013 10:24:37 AM , Rating: 2
For general word processing and document sharing there's a ton of apps out there for Android. Same with iOS. Many of those apps have MS Word compatibility. Google Drive is one of those, and it's included with most Android devices.

RE: Facepalm Microsoft...
By Da W on 7/31/2013 10:42:19 PM , Rating: 1
Googlers: ''Another Microsoft product, quick, to the bash mobile!"

RE: Facepalm Microsoft...
By phatboye on 8/1/2013 12:47:09 AM , Rating: 2
Googlers: ''Another overpriced Microsoft product, quick, to the bash mobile!"

RE: Facepalm Microsoft...
By Da W on 8/1/2013 9:42:21 AM , Rating: 2
Googlers: "We need FREE stuff. Give us free bicycle and we'll call every car buyers morons."

RE: Facepalm Microsoft...
By SpartanJet on 8/1/2013 12:04:29 AM , Rating: 2
<- This guy uses it. 79.99 for 4 years + 20gb cloud storage is a wonderful deal and beats that open office garbage any day! I'd rather jab my eyes out with a sharp stick than use open office (or worse google docs).

RE: Facepalm Microsoft...
By Basfhu11 on 7/31/2013 4:39:22 PM , Rating: 3
Untrue. You cannot get the office 365 equivalent for $140. 365 includes outlook, Access, and Publisher all of which drive the price of the suite closer to the $400 mark. That is where you get your value, and it is pretty damn good value at that considering you can install it on more PCs than you can with a retail copy (Unless you deceive MS).

RE: Facepalm Microsoft...
By retrospooty on 7/31/2013 4:55:28 PM , Rating: 2
Ya, but its a one time fee and you own it forever. After 5 years, you have paid $600 and you still have to keep paying to use it... I mean the subscrition model does work for some, I get that, but lets not pretend that having "cloud storage" with it is a value added part of it.

RE: Facepalm Microsoft...
By Motoman on 7/31/2013 9:00:34 PM , Rating: 2
Any and all dipsh1ts paying these subscription fees is a catastrophic moron. You're infinitely better off buying a normal license with a one-time fee. Or using something cheaper, like WordPerfect Office. Or something free - like Lotus Symphony, OO, or even MS Office Starter Edition...which you can actually install for free now on any computer, even Win8.

RE: Facepalm Microsoft...
By Basfhu11 on 7/31/2013 9:04:10 PM , Rating: 2
I would rather pay 10 dollars a month, install it up to 10 times, and get updated at no cost to the next full release of office rather than pay $500 per device up front and be stuck with that release and its subsequent updates, even if I was only installing it on one PC. If you are a regular office user who uses it on multiple devices then it makes more sense, period. If all you use is word and excel on your desktop PC than buying the retail version is the smarter play for sure. Also, fail to see how 20GB of free additional cloud storage is a bad thing. No matter the cloud provider extra space costs money, free cloud space (On top of the 7GB or 25GB skydrive gives you free)is added value. Arguing the contrary is laughable.

RE: Facepalm Microsoft...
By retrospooty on 7/31/2013 11:22:42 PM , Rating: 2
Then go for it... I didnt say it was a bad model, and that its good for some that want it. I was commenting on the cloud storage as a sell point. Of course its not a bad thing, no-one said that - but its like saying "Buy this new house , it comes with all the air you can breathe" OK... We already all have all the air we can breathe for free. Dont act like its a benefit to justify the high price. Buy the house or don't on it's own merit, dont blow smoke up my arse.

RE: Facepalm Microsoft...
By InsGadget on 7/31/2013 9:39:13 PM , Rating: 2
No, idiot. 10 dollars a month is justified by using the entirety of the Office software suite. Good lord this site is a regular Mensa meeting.

RE: Facepalm Microsoft...
By retrospooty on 8/1/2013 8:46:54 AM , Rating: 3
WTF is your problem? I was commenting on what I quoted, the high price justified by the cloud. FFS, you insult before even reading.

You are right, this sight does have some reading comprehension issues... You need to start in the mirror though.

RE: Facepalm Microsoft...
By Fireshade on 8/2/2013 5:36:28 AM , Rating: 2
I was commenting on what I quoted, the high price justified by the cloud.

IMHO that is a bit of an unsubtle misstatement by Jason Mick.
Obviously the price is first and foremost for a floating license access to the whole Office suite including all the updates.
Because of the concept of "working anywhere you want", Skydrive is necessary for synch'ing the data to the device on which you're using Office 365, and as such it works like magic - and it's quite logical that a user would get more cloudspace for it. But it's not a mandatory condition for Office365 to run.

Personally I think $10 a month for such a service is a great price if you have to use the Microsoft Office suite regularly/daily.
For business use the economics are even better (really) compared to volume standalone licenses.
Of course, if all you do is typing a letter once a while, there are much cheaper (=free) options - but that's obviously not the target group for Microsoft.

RE: Facepalm Microsoft...
By Salisme on 8/1/2013 8:25:39 AM , Rating: 2
Actually, its $99 a year for subscription that includes cloud. I have office premium installed on 4 computers, if I was to get office for all 4 computers that is $600 up front. If I run 365 for three years its $300.

In 3-4 years a new version of office will be available. Its really a no brainer.

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