Update (Feb 4, 2013): Clarified that the perpetually-licensed, boxed editions of Office 2013 suites do come with a DVD.
Update (Jan 30, 2013): Clarified retail and online channels pricing, and added local launch promo details.
First unveiled to the world in July last year, Microsoft’s newest Office productivity software suite has landed in the hands of enterprise customers since December (just two weeks ago for local enterprise users) through Microsoft Volume Licensing. General availability however is pegged at Q1 2013. Well, that day has finally arrived, as Microsoft today released the consumer editions of its new Office.
Unlike previous Office releases, Microsoft hopes that most users would get the new Office through an Office 365 subscription, instead of going the traditional, boxed copy with DVD route. Along with the various Office 2013 editions, the Redmond-based company has two Office 365 subscription plans for consumers, one of which being the Office 365 Home Premium that targets households. This plan allows Office to be used on up to five PCs or Macs (in any combination) and five mobile devices for all users in one household. In addition, you get an extra 20GB of storage space on SkyDrive, 60 minutes worth of Skype talk time every month, and version upgrades for all the Office apps.
The other Office 365 subscription plan announced today is Office 365 University. Available as a 4-year plan, it’s meant for students, faculty, and staff in institutions of higher learning (e.g. colleges or universities). Before one can subscribe to Office 365 University, a verification process will be done to determine eligibility. The difference in the number of installations permitted aside, this plan gets you the same benefits as Office 365 Home Premium (use on mobile devices, Skype world minutes, additional 20GB SkyDrive storage, version upgrades), but at a much lower cost. How much lower? How does S$108 for four years sound?
Here’s a table showing the different consumer SKUs for the new Office announced today:
|Price||No. of Devices||Apps|
|Office Home & Student 2013||
||1 PC||Word, Excel, PowerPoint, OneNote|
|Office Home & Business 2013||
||1 PC||Word, Excel, PowerPoint, OneNote, Outlook|
|Office Professional 2013||
||1 PC||Word, Excel, PowerPoint, OneNote, Outlook, Publisher, Access|
|Office 365 Home Premium||
||5 PCs or Macs + 5 mobile devices (1 household)||Word, Excel, PowerPoint, OneNote, Outlook, Publisher, Access|
|Office 365 University||
||2 PCs or Macs + 2 mobile devices (1 user)||Word, Excel, PowerPoint, OneNote, Outlook, Publisher, Access|
Besides a new user interface to keep up with the Modern-style-driven Windows 8, the new Office is cloud-connected (documents save to SkyDrive by default) and has hooks for social networks. And through the Office Store, you can download little 'apps' for your Office 2013 apps to expand their functionality.
Boxed copies of Office 2013 and Office 365 subscriptions will be available at authorized retailers across 162 countries, as well as online at Office.com. Local authorized retailers (such as Challenger) will carry them from January 30, 2013, which is tomorrow. While boxed copies of Office 365 subscriptions don't come with an installation DVD (instead, you'll find a product key which you use for the online setup process), we were told that the perpetually-licensed, boxed editions of Office 2013 suites do. And as you may notice from the table above, the estimated retail prices are different from what are currently listed on Office.com. Like previous versions of Office, the latter tend to change now and then depending on prevailing exchange rates. But if you're going to buy the new Office now, it looks like it's slightly cheaper to do so online.
That said, Microsoft is running some local launch promotions for those who buy Office 365 Home Premium from authorized retailers. If you buy Office 365 Home Premium from now to February 3, 2013, you get the choice to redeem either a Canon Pixma MG2270 AIO printer for free, or a free training course on Office 2013 and an additional 90 minutes of Skype credits. The eligibility period for the training course and Skype credits lasts longer, up to March 31, 2013 - in other words, if you buy Office 365 Home Premium from February 4 to March 31, 2013, your only choice is the training course and Skype credits. Also, redemption for the printer has to be done by February 6; for the training voucher and Skype credits, by April 10.
Also, a purchase of any Intel Ultrabook with Office 365 Home Premium entitles you to one Microsoft WMM1000 wireless optical mouse and a free Ultrabook software bundle that's worth S$350.
StarHub is also offering a 50% discount for Office 365 Home Premium when you sign up for eligible StarHub Broadband plans. So instead of S$138, you pay S$69. But note that this is for a 1-year Office 365 subscription, and will not be applicable when you enter into your second year of subscription.
Interestingly, over at Office.com, you can also find individual Office 2013 apps for sale. Word, Excel, PowerPoint, Outlook, Publisher, and Access cost S$139.99 each, while OneNote itself costs S$89.99.
The other Office 365 business and Office 2013 pro offerings will be announced on February 27.
For more information regarding Office 2013 and the new Office 365 subscription plans, check out our FAQ here.