Microsoft has announced pricing details for its upcoming Office 2013 packages as well as the subscription rates for the cloud-based Office 365. Interestingly, the company seems to be steering customers towards the latter, saying the online solution will be updated more frequently with the latest features and allows small businesses and households with up to five computers or mobile devices to access everything for one price.
There are two versions of Office 365: Home Premium and Small Business Premium. The former is priced at $99.99 per year while the latter will cost $149.99 per user per year. Both versions include the complete lineup of programs found in the current Office Professional release -- Word, Excel, PowerPoint, OneNote, Outlook, Publisher, and Access. Home Premium users can use Office on up to five computers shared among all users in the household, each accessing their settings and documents with their own account, as well as 20GB of SkyDrive storage (in addition to the 7GB available to anyone) plus 60 minutes of Skype usage per month.
Office 365 Small Business Premium also includes access to the same programs but adds Lync with free HD video conferencing and screen sharing as well as InfoPath, making it equivalent to the current Office Professional Plus 2010. This subscription includes the ability to use Office on up to five computers for a single user, and comes with hosted exchange, 10GB of SharePoint, and 25GB of mailbox space.
A free 30 day trial is available for either version and they both include a feature called Office on Demand that allows you to use Office 2013 programs on a PC that isn't one of your regular five devices.
Licensing isn’t as attractive for customers that prefer the "traditional" Office experience -- at least in a multi-computer scenario. Standalone versions of Office 2013 will be available at $139.99 for the Home & Student Edition, $219.99 for Home & Business and $399.99 for Office 2013 Professional. With any of these you only get access to Office programs on one machine and there are no volume discounts or family packs.
Office 2013 has been in a consumer preview stage in July. Microsoft hasn’t said when the final version will ship, but an update program for users running a previous version of the productivity suite will open October 19, suggesting Office 2013 will launch right around the time Windows 8 is scheduled to arrive.