Office 2013 ushers in the New Age of Software Delivery

Office 2013 preview

After installing Office2013 on both Windows 8 and Windows 7, I have to say it’s a fantastic upgrade. If you haven’t got it yet, all you need is a Microsoft email and a good internet connection then head over to the Office2013 Preview. Microsoft is radically changing the way Office will be delivered to most consumers. They are moving away from a standalone program that costs hundreds of dollars and that resides on your PC to a “Office On Demand” (essentially a streamed service) where the main computing power of Office365 will essentially reside in the cloud.

What are the Pros of this change?

  • The software will always remain current
  • Your content is in the cloud thus allowing you to access it on any internet connected PC, anywhere by streaming a full-featured version of Office on any Internet-connected PC with Office on Demand (though currently this is relegated to Win7 & Win8 PCs)
  • Even though MSFT has not released subscription prices and the release date yet (most think Q2 2013) we can estimate the value based on current Office365 pricing ($6 a month for Office365 enterprise). A quick calculation revealed that even a $10/month subscription to Office365Home Premium would get you 10 years of subscribed service when compared to the equivalent cost in Office2010 Professional. Let’s break it down:


  Office 2010 Professional Office365 Home Premium
Programs Word, Excel, Access, PowerPoint, OneNote, Access, Publisher Word, Excel, Access, PowerPoint, OneNote, Access, Publisher
Cloud Storage None. $10/year to add equivalent Sky Drive storage 20 GB free on SkyDrive
Communication None 60 Min free international Skype Calls/month
Number of Licensed Installations Up to 2 PCs Up to 5 PC’s or Tablets
Monthly Subscription n/a $10/mo (estimated)
Purchase Cost $499 n/a
Equivalent Cost $499 x2 (to get 4 licensed installs) + $10×8 (20GB Skydrive storage for 8 years) + $16.56×8 (60 min/mo Skype calls) = $1212 $1212 = 10.1 years of Subscription service


Such a low price may also have the benefit of reducing piracy by making the software more affordable up front (eg a 5/- packet of single serve coffee sells at a higher rate than a 500g jar of Coffee). This combined with the $40 upgrade fee to Windows 8 from XP, Vista or Windows 7 seems to suggest that Microsoft is taking software pirates head on. The delivery of Office as a service shows the shift towards the “On Demand” content delivery that was first seen in multimedia, Spotify, Netflix. In fact John Jendrezak, Partner Group Program Manager states that such programs were an inspiration to Office365.

Examples like Skype, Spotify, Netflix and SkyDrive show us how applications recognize you when you sign in and delivers you your content targeted to specific devices.”

Via the Office Next Blog

I expect more software companies to follow Microsoft’s lead in providing their software as a streaming service.