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MS Office 2013 Pushing Home Users Toward Subscriptions 349

Posted by Soulskill
from the deposit-a-nickel-for-every-word-you-type dept.
An anonymous reader writes "Ars reports that Microsoft has announced pricing plans for Office 2013 that include a subscription-based model for home users. There will be a $100/year Home version that can be shared by up to 5 users and a $150/year Small Business version. 'Subscription software of one form or another has proven popular in the enterprise (whether it be cloud services, like Office 365, or subscriptions to desktop software, such as Microsoft's Software Assurance scheme). But so far it's a rarity in the consumer space. Anti-virus software has tried to bully and cajole users into getting aboard the subscription train, but the large number of users with out-of-date anti-viral protection suggests users are resisting. ... As another incentive to subscribe, and one that might leave a bad taste in the mouth, the company says that subscribers will be given unspecified "updates" to add new features and capabilities over the life of their subscription. Perpetual licensees will only get bug fixes and security updates.'"
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MS Office 2013 Pushing Home Users Toward Subscriptions

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  • by jhoegl (638955) on Tuesday September 18, 2012 @06:18PM (#41381011)
    I am not paying a leasing fee for software, thanks.
    • Re: (Score:3, Informative)

      by Anonymous Coward

      Humorous. If you have to learn libre office you clearly haven't used a word processor before. Microsoft Office is not significantly different (at least older versions) than Libre Office. Unless you've only picked up word processing since 2007 or so and it was with MS Office then you've already got the skill set to use Libre Office. There are just a few slight differences for basic word processing tasks.

      • by jhoegl (638955) on Tuesday September 18, 2012 @06:35PM (#41381205)
        I am actually talking about scripting and macroing in Libre.
        • May I ask, what you do that requires scripting and macroing (or did you mean complex formulas for spreadsheet).

          • by jhoegl (638955) on Tuesday September 18, 2012 @06:43PM (#41381291)
            It could be complex formulas, or a form in Excel/Calc(Libre Ver)
            It could also be an error checking, a sorting feature, um... what else
            It could be maybe mass email lists, or some other functions like that.
            Macros are pretty useful in Excel if you know what you are doing. I have seen some cool stuff.
            Word... not so much.
            • by Tough Love (215404) on Tuesday September 18, 2012 @06:53PM (#41381387)

              Libreoffice spreadsheet macros are nearly identical to Excel now. Not to the point where you could expect some gigantic Excel model to just work, but I doubt you get that even between different versions of Microsoft's product. Writing macros from scratch... it just works. All the same functions are there with the exception of a few really bizarre ones. And Openoffice/Libreoffice has a much nicer implementation of cut and paste than Excel, it works more like cut and paste in a word processor as opposed to the wierdo funky scheme they came up with for Excel. That a big deal for me, I don't want to be thinking about cut and paste oddities when I'm thinking about crunching numbers.

    • by Baldrake (776287) on Tuesday September 18, 2012 @06:32PM (#41381157)

      And fortunately you need go no further than TFM to find out that you don't have to. Subscription is just an option. You can still buy outright if you want.

    • by v1 (525388) on Tuesday September 18, 2012 @06:59PM (#41381445) Homepage Journal

      You're already leasing it. It's called licensing. The only difference is that you had a one-time payment before, and now they want you to pay continuously.

      They say they're going to add new features, but I don't see how they can add $100 worth of new features every year. Heck, office 2004 still gets my jobs done. I don't see what features they could possibly have added over the last 8 years that would be worth $800.

      The whole pricing thing for apps like this I think is going to do a bubble burst shortly anyway. Who's going to pay $100/yr to lease an app that a cloud app will do for you for $15/yr? I've used Google Docs recently, and while it's not a perfect replacement yet, it's sure a lot cheaper!

      • The whole pricing thing for apps like this I think is going to do a bubble burst shortly anyway. Who's going to pay $100/yr to lease an app that a cloud app will do for you for $15/yr? I've used Google Docs recently, and while it's not a perfect replacement yet, it's sure a lot cheaper!

        MS is in that game, too - SkyDrive is free and comes with its own web-based Office suite. I can't say how it compares with Google Docs, since I don't use either much - only to view documents online, not to edit - but it looks much closer to desktop Office.

    • Its pretty irritating if youre used to office, but the pricetag goes a long way to easing the pain. And actually its been a lot better in recent versions-- I often forget im using it.

  • by Beardo the Bearded (321478) on Tuesday September 18, 2012 @06:19PM (#41381021)

    Well then, I'll just leave this here:
    Download Libre Office. $0, $0 a month. I think you can swing it. [libreoffice.org]

  • by Dan East (318230) on Tuesday September 18, 2012 @06:19PM (#41381033) Homepage Journal

    Dad: Merry Christmas kids!!!!
    Kids: What did you get us?
    Dad: We now have a 1 year family subscription for a web-based word processor!
    Kids: YAAAAAAAY!!!!!!

    • by game kid (805301)

      What fools. My 1-year subscription came with a 3-month membership and in-game currency for an MMO!

      See what happens when you don't clip the internet coupons in your toolbar? You miss out on great deals!

  • Libre Office (Score:3, Insightful)

    by Sir_Kurt (92864) on Tuesday September 18, 2012 @06:21PM (#41381043)

    OK, so why wouldn't any home user choose a free LibreOffice download over a $100/year msoffice subscription tax?

    Kurt

    • Re:Libre Office (Score:5, Insightful)

      by dnaumov (453672) on Tuesday September 18, 2012 @06:28PM (#41381111)

      Because users actually prefer MS Office and are willing to pay for using it?

      • Re: (Score:2, Insightful)

        by Mitreya (579078)

        Because users actually prefer MS Office and are willing to pay for using it?

        Users don't necessarily prefer MS Office as much as they are locked into it.
        Compatibility is a crapshoot and I think there may be active work on MS side to decrease it further.

        • Except I have trouble seeing how home users are locked into an expensive office product. At work, sure, in a lot of places you simply have no choice. But at home? Where's the compatibility requirement for complex documents?
          • The label "home user" does not by itself tell you if compatibility is a concern. The compatibility requirement depends on what "home users" actually use an office suite at home to do. I would hazard a guess that the main uses for a "home user" are aimed at communicating with a business, government, NGO's, etc. If that's not what a particular home user is doing then a lack of MSO compatibility is not preventing them from using whatever tools they like to accomplish the task.

            I know it's hard for us geeks t
        • by humanrev (2606607)

          Users don't necessarily prefer MS Office as much as they are locked into it.

          I know people who, when having a look at screenshots of both Office 2010 and LibreOffice 3.5, decide that they prefer Office 2012 because, in their words, "it's prettier". If this is all it takes then I'm not surprised at all when people say they prefer MS Office.

          Beside, even if we argue that they only "prefer" it because they're locked into using it, isn't that still a preference? My wife is a teacher. She could use LibreOffice if

      • by xs650 (741277)

        Because users actually prefer MS Office and are willing to pay for using it?

        Microsoft is about to find out just how willing users are to pay for it every year.

        An acquaintance said MS is incompetently evil while Apple is competently evil. If MS goes with this model, that will be further evidence that my acquaintance is correct about MS.

        I prefer Libre Office but also have Office 2010 because $100 was a decent price to buy it for and on rare occasion it is useful. Lease it for $100/year? No fricking way

    • Re:Libre Office (Score:5, Informative)

      by drooling-dog (189103) on Tuesday September 18, 2012 @06:33PM (#41381163)

      Because it's not advertised on the Tee Vee, and because MS can afford all of the FUD and astroturfing it needs to keep people in a state of confusion. After all, it's "not ready for the desktop", just like Linux.

      • Re: (Score:2, Interesting)

        by Mitreya (579078)

        Because it's not advertised on the Tee Vee, and because MS can afford all of the FUD and astroturfing it needs to keep people in a state of confusion.

        Also, because you may or may not be able to open that PowerPoint.pptx with cute cat pictures. I know compatibility exists, but it is in no way guaranteed to always work

        After all, it's "not ready for the desktop", just like Linux.

        And here I will have to burn some of my carma once again
        With all due respect, Linux is not nearly as ready for the desktop as people on slashdot seem to think. Now, I understand that there is a bunch of people who will come forward and explain how their grandma used Ubuntu (or such) for 10 years now.

        But what I know is when the wireless ca

    • People who use Office daily, for whom 27Â per day is reasonable.
      • by Dcnjoe60 (682885)

        People who use Office daily, for whom 27Â per day is reasonable.

        People who use Office daily probably aren't home users (which the article is about). The small business cost is $150 per user per year, so a 100 person office will pay $15,000/yr. Regular business cost is even higher. Previously, a small business could purchase those 100 copies for around $20,000 and then use them for 5 years. That equates to $4,000/yr versus $15,000.

        No wonder the republicans want tax cuts for the wealth, job creators -- they are going to have to use it to pay for new copies of Office.

    • by Dan541 (1032000)

      Not to mention $100 per year is fucking expensive compared to buying it outright.

      • by Rockoon (1252108)
        Indeed. $8.33/month is a hefty price for consumer software.

        There must be some sort of "service" that comes with the package in order to make it compelling, and I don't mean "free upgrades" and "cloud storage."

        Actually since this is "Office 365" and not actually Office, that should be "forced upgrades," the very reason people should be staying clear of both "Office 365" and "Google Docs." Upgrades sometimes mean a break in compatibility, surprise interface changes, and sometimes even feature reduction (a
  • Don't like it? Buy a disk. Want an upgrade? Buy another disk. Or don't use MS Office. Your choice.
    • Did anyone here say it was a problem? Most of the responses so far are suggesting alternatives, like LibreOffice. Or is there some reason we shouldn't be discussing that?

    • I doesn't seem very good value to me.

      I just bought a home license for office from Costco for ~$120 with instant $20 rebate. It allows up to three licensed installations and it doesn't expire. Like many people, I don't upgrade instantly each time a new version of Office rolls around, so you can easily amortize that cost over say.. 3-4 years. So for my 3 licenses (only two of which I'm even using), I paid about $33/yr, or $16.50 per active license/yr and don't have to worry that the software will expire.

      If I

    • My company has already seen the writing on the wall. All non-engineers have been moved to IBM's Lotus office suite. All the engineers are still on Office 2000 because of the number of VBA scripts that have been written in it.

  • no one in their right mind will pay $100 a year to use MS Word and Outlook at home

  • Turning the screws (Score:2, Insightful)

    by Tough Love (215404)

    You knew this was going to happen. Think you bought your software? Microsoft disagrees, and by the way, Microsoft doesn't think you should own your computer either. Anybody so weak kneed as to be afraid to act in their own interest and move to the free and open option gets no sympathy from me.

    • by Dan East (318230)

      The problem is Microsoft no longer holds the majority OS market in personal computing devices. If they try and screw you over with their software on their platform, then people will use a platform with more affordable application pricing. Microsoft has to win 2 games at one time here - the OS and the applications. Frankly I don't see it happening, as they are screwing up in one or both arenas every time they turn around.

      One thing a lot of people don't realize is that not only is the iOS app market HUGE,

      • by redmid17 (1217076)
        I don't see tablets and cell phones as a very viable market for document creation and editing. Tablets and cell phones are for consumption and it's going to take a hell of an engineering feat to make it more practical otherwise. There are already free readers out there for iOS and Android, so no one is going to pay for it.
        • > Tablets and cell phones are for consumption and it's going to take
          > a hell of an engineering feat to make it more practical otherwise.

          Add a bluetooth keyboard+mouse to a tablet, and you've re-invented the notebook.

        • I don't see tablets and cell phones as a very viable market for document creation and editing. Tablets and cell phones are for consumption and it's going to take a hell of an engineering feat to make it more practical otherwise.

          Why would it take "a hell of an engineering feat"? What's wrong with [asus.com] these [microsoft.com]?

        • by lgw (121541)

          Tablet/phone + dock = real computer. It's not a complex equation, nor a hell of an engineering feat. People already have the keyboard, monitor, and mouse, but when it comes time to replace the box under the desk, a cheap docking station for the portable they already like will seem quite attractive.

    • by epyT-R (613989)

      Microsoft isn't the only one who thinks you shouldn't own your electronics.. In computing, the age of empowerment is coming to a close. Next up, the age of enslavement.

  • by hilldog (656513) on Tuesday September 18, 2012 @06:45PM (#41381303)
    First an interface that no body likes ...say hello to blocky windows 8 than a screw you charge for Office. Bill come back! The captain is steering into the reefs! Awww...screw it just go open source, spend half an hour learning the in's and out's and be free!
    • by Mitreya (579078)

      First an interface that no body likes ...say hello to blocky windows 8 than a screw you charge for Office. Bill come back! The captain is steering into the reefs! Awww...screw it just go open source, spend half an hour learning the in's and out's and be free!

      This is working for MS just fine. Vista was a failure similar to what Windows 8 is (apparently) shaping up to be, and no lasting damage was done. Most users and all corporations just skipped it. MS may be coordinating good/bad releases with corporate re-licensing cycle on purpose, for all we know

      Most of those actions would be destructive for a non-monopoly but work reasonably well for MS.

  • no thanks... (Score:5, Insightful)

    by jaymz666 (34050) on Tuesday September 18, 2012 @06:46PM (#41381315)

    Word 2003 still works just fine...

    Most home users barely use many of the features of these tools to begin with, they won't see the value of paying $100 a year for this. That's a lot of money to many people.

    • Actually, Word 2000 still works just fine. And is far more straightforward and less annoying than the 2010 version I use at work... /frank

      • I do have to say that the 2010 version of office has an unheralded devastatingly good feature called Custom Ribbons. It's even better than the old menus because you pick any feature you want and line it up in your own little toolbar in the order you use stuff. So for example you dump Bold, Center, Left, Font, Size, Cut Copy Paste, Print Preview, Save-As, and Print all in a neat little row. Bang, make a document, click your buttons mostly left to right, out comes your work. Before you dismiss this, the secre

    • by Dcnjoe60 (682885)

      Word 2003 still works just fine...

      Most home users barely use many of the features of these tools to begin with, they won't see the value of paying $100 a year for this. That's a lot of money to many people.

      Of course Microsoft could just change the licensing agreement on your existing copy (like Google and Facebook have recently done with their services) and you then have the choice to upgrade to the new subscription or stop using the product.

    • by Mitreya (579078)

      Word 2003 still works just fine...

      Until you start receiving those docx files, you mean?

      • Re:no thanks... (Score:5, Informative)

        by jaymz666 (34050) on Tuesday September 18, 2012 @08:08PM (#41382021)

        To open Microsoft Office Word 2007 .docx or .docm files with Microsoft Office Word 2003, Word 2002, or Word 2000, you need to install the Microsoft Office Compatibility Pack for Word, Excel, and PowerPoint 2007 File Formats and any necessary Office updates. By using the Compatibility Pack for the 2007 Office system, you can open, edit some items, and save Office Word 2007 documents in previous versions of Word.

    • by antdude (79039)

      2K SR-3 with converter packs as well. :)

  • Two words (Score:4, Informative)

    by Dyinobal (1427207) on Tuesday September 18, 2012 @06:52PM (#41381383)

    Google Drive.

    Seriously if you've not checked out googles iteration of google docs (and their attempt to compete in 'the cloud') you should. 5 gigs free space on the cloud, plus built in web based office suite, all free.

    Though from what I understand it costs more than the old google docs subscription models did. If you decide 5 gigs of space isn't enough for you. But it would seem they have added value to it with the rather convenient google drive program

    • by hodet (620484)
      I can say the same about Skydrive. I have Office 2010 home edition for the Windows laptop and use skydrive as well. The in browser version of office doesn't give everything that the desktop client gives but is a pretty worthy option in a pinch. Is plenty for most users. Also comes with 25GB of space (although 7 GB or something now). Just personal preference for me as Google docs just feels klunky to me. Again personal preference only. I have Libre Office on my Linux laptop and it seems ok too.
  • I don't THINK so!

    Subscription software may be popular in the enterprise, but I can't see it flying in the home.

  • by Jenny Z (1028212) on Tuesday September 18, 2012 @06:59PM (#41381433)

    It is kind of funny how the marketing departments of big software companies think we actually look forward to 'updates' which annoy us and waste our time. Now I actually breath a sigh of relief when my BlueRay player gets past the moment where it may insist I have to spend 5 minutes 'updating' before I can watch my movie. I can't imagine wanting to pay $100 in return for being hassled with updates I don't care about. Apparently, they haven't figured out that people very well might pay $100 to never be bothered with them.

  • Reminds me of Microsoft Plus! [wikipedia.org] and Windows Ultimate Extras [wikipedia.org], stuff that either adds little value to the product or is included in the next retail version of it.
  • I would have to need the stuff not in the free apps pretty badly to pay a subscription. As in, "do I really need to do this?"

  • I'm tired of companies calling things convenient that aren't convenient, and using it as an excuse to screw us. Or "Simplifying" things and making things both more expensive, and harder to customize. I think for the first time the IT industry isn't getting better in any way shape or form it's getting worse!
  • Two words: (Score:4, Interesting)

    by OldSport (2677879) on Tuesday September 18, 2012 @07:13PM (#41381587)

    Fuck that.

    I will use my current version of Office until it is absolutely and completely obsolete, and I will switch to something else before I buy into this "pay indefinitely for something" BS. Try increasing sales the old-fashioned way, by actually offering new and innovative products, instead of using this rent-a-program crap to leech off your customers.

  • This just in... (Score:4, Interesting)

    by roc97007 (608802) on Tuesday September 18, 2012 @07:25PM (#41381649) Journal

    Office 2000 still works. It'll even open docx files with this [microsoft.com].

    I'm happy to use the more recent versions of Office, but it has to be on someone else's dime. (Like, my place of employment.) I bought 2000, it works, and they're gonna havta pry it from my cold dead hands (at least until I switch to something open source).

    Why would a home user waste valuable income on a new version of Office? Are ribbons all that important for that letter to Aunt Edna?

  • Expect to be followed up with a "Free to Type" and "Pay to Save" model shortly.

  • so... (Score:5, Insightful)

    by Charliemopps (1157495) on Tuesday September 18, 2012 @07:42PM (#41381795)
    Sadly I think this will actually work out for microsoft. This is the same sort of thing happened with MMOs. The thing is, you do something like this and drive away 2/3rds of your customers... so what if the remaining 1/3 is paying 10x the price for the same product. And what's going to happen here is people will get windows for "free" with their computer. They'll put all their files and such on it and then after 6 months or so... bam... can't access any of their important documents and the only way to get them back is pay microsoft $100.
  • Google Docs (Score:4, Informative)

    by Teckla (630646) on Tuesday September 18, 2012 @07:53PM (#41381895)

    Predictably, there are already lots of mentions of Libre Office.

    I'm almost embarrassed to admit that Google Docs (free) meets my meager needs. You can even download copies of your documents, in several different formats, to store locally.

    Highly recommended unless you have advanced needs.

  • by FlynnMP3 (33498) on Tuesday September 18, 2012 @07:57PM (#41381935)

    Dear Microsoft,

    Thank you for the generous time and money donation to "The Documentation Foundation"; home of LibreOffice. The extra incentive of more users having more time to devote to providing feedback to make LibreOffice better and more focused is certainly appreciated. However, in the future, perhaps consider a straight up money donation as this will be better for your business. After all, more competition is better for the consumer and if it weren't for the consumer, neither of us would be here.

    For the future developers coming into the fold, there are plenty of User Interface improvements that are perfect for getting your feet wet with the project. We welcome you aboard!

    Best Wishes,

    LibreOffice Development Team

  • by rueger (210566) * on Tuesday September 18, 2012 @08:21PM (#41382113) Homepage
    I'm always amused by the debates about whether LibreOffice can replace MS Office for the average user. Inevitably there are crys of "LO breaks the formatting and animation and fontly goodness that I put into my documents!"

    Here's a newsflash.
    • 90% of home users don't do anything more fancy than put in one picture into a newsletter, and basically use three or four fonts, one of which is Comic Sans.
    • 95% of home users never touch Excel or Powerpoint unless they're opening something created elsewhere.
    • 99% of home users don't use Access, or anything like it.
    • 75% of home users don't share docs with anyone. More likely they just print them out.

    Actually, most home users spend more time putting words and pictures into Facebook than they do into any office suite.

    My point being that for probably 75% of the public LibreOffice or GoogleDocs are absolutely just fine.

    And if LO breaks your dumb Word doc, maybe it's because you've filled it with unnecessary junk that actually detracts from what you're doing.

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