Office 365: Hold onto your hats — there’s a lot to take in:
• 20GB of SkyDrive (in addition to whatever storage plan you already have)
• 60 minutes of Skype world minutes per month
• Perpetual upgrades for as long as you subscribe.
• You can activate and deactivate specific computers at will at the Office.com web portal, so you’re not locked into the five terminals you originally set up. Office 365 on deactivated computers can still read docs — they just can’t edit them — however, you can reactivate them whenever you want (up to the five-limit maximum). In other words, if you have a lot of computers, you can switch up the ones that have the active installs.
• Office On Demand which can basically stream the application to any PC via Office.com, so you can edit docs on the go from any computer. It uninstalls when you’re done, with no trace.
• With five licenses, you can set up individual user accounts with their own settings. Family members just sign in with their own Microsoft accounts and have their own list of recent docs, SkyDrive access and more.
• The Office App Store, with Web-powered add-ons for many key Office applications.
And that’s just the tip of the iceberg. For example, the Office App Store is intriguing and full of potential. Although it’s still trying to find its legs since the November debut, the store could offer a lot of exciting, creative new pathways for development. (It certainly doesn’t hurt that it’s backed by the world’s undisputed majority leader in desktop OSes.) Reportedly Microsoft has been reaching out to devs, both cooperative and even competitive, to help flesh out these offerings.
Clearly, with Office 365, the company is rebooting its software suite as a go-anywhere, do-anything lifestyle subscription service that will soon have plenty of useful features and web apps to make it a robust, exciting environment. And even though it is still hanging on to the trusty old shrink-wrapped workhorse that evolved into Office 2013, it’s not hard to see which one the company believes is its future.
Now, Office 2013 might not be the sexy choice, but it could still make sense for people who only need the basic programs and plan on using them for a good long time on a single terminal. For everyone else, however, there are some interesting choices now. So which one will you pick? Are you leaning toward Office 365, Office 2013, or do you plan on hanging on to your legacy Office suite for now, until any unforeseen kinks get worked out? Let us know in the comments.
And if you’re on the fence, TechnoBuffalo is working on a full review of the release version of Office 365, so definitely stay tuned for that!