But for a home user that is willing to entrust all their files to the cloud (and to the stability and speed of their internet connection), Office 2013 is available on a subscription basis for $99 per year for up to 5 home licenses. But to repeat: that depends on your internet connection. If you do any serious work (Microsoft even advertises videoconferencing) WiFi just won’t cut it. Further, if you ever stop subscribing, all your files turn to dust... er, read only copies.
That’s the good news. For a business, however, the news is different. The “official” price for 2013 Home and Business (the version most businesses will probably buy), there appears to be only a $20 increase, from $199.99 to $219.99. However, 2013 Office is for one computer only, whereas 2010 Office could be installed on 3 computers. So for a business that needs to have software installed on users’ office and home computers, it will cost them up to $659.97 for the same number of licenses. Let’s see, $659.97 vs. $199.99 – how much of a price increase is that?
And there’s more. The 2013 Office is permanently tied to the computer it was first installed on. If you get a new computer, you cannot transfer the license, you have to buy a new copy. So if you upgrade your computers, that’s another $220 or more. How much is the cost of Office 2013 up to now?
And there’s more. Microsoft has eliminated upgrade pricing. For a limited time (until the end of April), if you can find a copy of Office 2010 and buy it you can get a free upgrade to 2013. Other than that, upgrade pricing is gone.
But what about features?
As usual, for all things Microsoft I rely heavily on Woody Leonhard. His review of Office 2013 concludes that: “We’ve been using Office 2013 for a long time now and while it has some nice additions there’s nothing really compelling that would justify the cost of upgrading...We’ve read some Office 2013 comments talking about the ‘big improvement’ in Office 2013. But frankly we can’t see it and nor can we see it after reading those glowing reports.” (Click here for the full review).
As for features – what if you don’t want to trust your data to the reliability your internet connection and the cloud? A useful summary in Infoworld provides some help to people who want to fix what the review terms “enraging flaws” in Office 2013, including how to disable the SkyDrive default.
Lastly, look closely at the features you need (footnotes, indexes, etc.). Some or all of these may not be available in the Cloud. Ditto if you use anything but generic Microsoft fonts. Check carefully before you take the leap.