Buying MS Office

Since the introduction of Office 365, there are now two main ways to purchase your MS Office applications license:

  • Office 365 provides a subscription method with monthly or annual costs
  • Perpetual provides for a one-off purchase with no monthly or annual costs

We’re not going to beat about the bush, only under particular circumstances does it make sense to buy a perpetual license anymore – the benefits of an Office 365 subscription significantly outweigh this now…hopefully the points below provide moire detail, but the main reasons would be:

  1. You need Publisher or Access (not available cost effectively with the perpetual license)
  2. Your need Office on your smartphone or tablet
  3. You need to install Office on more than one computer where you are the primary user
  4. You always want the latest version of Office
  5. You want a license that’s simple to manage/transfer

Office 365 Subscription

  • You can install the top of the range Office Professional Plus suite incl Publisher (and Access on Windows)
  • You can install on up to 5 computers where you are the primary user, incl Windows and OSX, both work and home computers, laptops etc
  • You can install the Office apps on smartphones and tablets
  • You have access to 1TB of file storage on OneDrive
  • You will always have the latest version of MS Office
  • Licensing your devices is trivial requiring only your email address and password
  • Your licenses can be easily moved from one device to another as you change them
  • Cost for the Office 365 subscription that only includes the Office applications is currently £7.70/month/user (or £185 for 2 years)
  • Cost if bought with a 50GB Exchange mailbox is the equivalent of £6.30/month/user (or £150 for 2 years)

Perpetual License

  • One-off purchase to be installed on only one computer
  • Separate licenses for Windows and OSX
  • Cannot be upgraded to new “major” version of Office
  • No license to use on smartphones or tablets
  • No license to use OneDrive cloud storage
  • Complicated to move to a new machine – if the license is OEM, it cannot be moved
  • Office Professional Plus cost is £325 (ie MUCH more expensive!!)
  • Office Home & Business cost is £192

Common Gotcha’s

  • Cannot use Office Home/Student subscriptions for business use
  • OEM Office licenses cannot be transferred to a new machine
  • Perpetual licenses have to be registered against a Microsoft Account – each license needs a separate account making managing several licenses a significant headache!