Home Reviews Software Office 2013 or Office 365 - whats best?

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Damned if I can tell the difference – except 365 Home Premium is a lot cheaper and can be installed on 5 devices.

Many reviews start with 'If you have Office 2010 (or even 2007) then there are few compelling reasons to update to Office 2013'. I say that there are many reasons including better security, better internet integration, it does more stuff “betterer” and has superior software management.

But if you persist with using XP then stay with your old Office because it’s likely to be the last of the “buy your software model” we will see.

Office 2013 is a boxed product – available from your retailer or system integrator. You purchase it and its EULA allows you to install it on one PC only (according to analysts unlike Office 2010 you can’t reinstall it on another computer - ever).

Office 365 is a subscription product. The recently released Home Premium version costs $119 per annum and can be installed on up to 5 devices and you can transfer to other devices whenever you want. The University version costs $99 per annum.

Functionally the look and feel of the boxed product is the same as 365. The install process is similar except in one you insert a DVD and the other takes a few minutes to download and both take about 10 minutes to install.

MS has just announced (28 February 2013) that they will extend the Office 365 to three new levels for business.

  • •Office 365 Small Business Premium  - 1 to 10 employees. Word, Excel, PowerPoint, Outlook plus business grade email, shared calendars, website tools and HD video conferencing (HD camera required) in an easy to manage service that doesn’t require IT expertise. Telstra offers this for $13.50 per user per month.
  • •Office 365 Midsize Business  –10 to 250 employees. In addition to Office 365 ProPlus, this service provides midsize businesses with the enterprise-quality communication and collaboration tools– along with the simplified IT tools to maintain control while reducing complexity.  Active Directory integration, a web-based administration console and business hours phone support are also included. Telstra offers this for $16.50 per user per month.
  • •Office 365 ProPlus  – includes Word, Excel, PowerPoint, OneNote, Outlook, Publisher, InfoPath, Access and Lync. It works on up to five devices, including Windows 8 tablets, PCs and Macs. People can now simply sign in to Office 365 from virtually any of their devices, and their documents and personalized settings roam with them, allowing them to quickly pick up right where they left off.  IT departments also get the controls they need including the ability to run Office 365 ProPlus side-by-side with other versions of Office, and tools to streamline and manage updates for their users. Office 365 ProPlus is available as a standalone offering, with pricing depending on buying program, or is included with the updated premium Office 365 Enterprise offerings and the new Office 365 Midsize Business. Telstra offers this for $26.90 per user per month.
  • •Office 365 Enterprise  is offered by Telstra as part of its TSUITE.

Just to confuse matters Office 2013 (boxed) can be purchased as standalone products

  • Office Home and Student (Word, Excel, PowerPoint, OneNote) $169
  • Office Home and Business (As above plus Outlook) $299
  • Office Professional (as above plus Publisher and Access) $599.



MS has never had easy to understand pricing models as it tries to be all things to all people.

According to my accountant you would be better off renting software (and claiming a deduction) than buying and depreciating.

The Office 365 Home Premium has been wrongly used by small business and now they have a $13.50 per month (inc GST) or $162 per annum option that looks like its best as it covers multiple installs for each user (home, business, tablet and Mac) and it can be flexible – add more staff or cancel if you need to.


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Ray Shaw

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Ray Shaw ray@im.com.au  has a passion for IT ever since building his first computer in 1980. He is a qualified journalist, hosted a consumer IT based radio program on ABC radio for 10 years, has developed world leading software for the events industry and is smart enough to no longer own a retail computer store!