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Microsoft Office 2013 launches with new subscription option

Yesterday, Microsoft’s Office Twitter account, @Office, announced plans to launch Office 2013 today, January 29, with an event in New York’s Bryant Park. The ubiquitous office suite has been making the rounds in enterprise settings for the last couple of months, but today’s the first time that the general public can get their hands on it.

Along with Office 2013 comes a new way to experience and pay for the popular suite: a new subscription version called Office 365 Home Premium. Though Microsoft Office 365 has been in pubic beta for over a year, today marks the rental suite’s formal debut. For $99.99 a year, users can access Word, Excel, PowerPoint, OneNote, Outlook, Access, and Publisher on up to five different devices – including tablets and Macs – at the same time. Microsoft sweetens the deal even further by offering 20GB of SkyDrive online storage and 60 minutes of international calls for Skype users.

Office 365 Home Premium is a lot like Google Drive, which saves all of your work in the cloud and gives you access to all of your work no matter where you are. In other words, you’ll never have to worry about leaving that important file on your home computer again.

For users who eschew the subscription model for software, Office 2013 is also available in the traditional pay-once-and-install format. Office Home & Student 2013 is available for $140, Office Home & Business 2013 for $220, Office Standard 2013 for $370, and Office Professional Plus 2013 for $499. The least expensive version, Home & Student, does not include Outlook, which may entice email fanatics to upgrade to Home & Business or take a second look at Office 365 Home Premium, which includes access to the email behemoth.

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Editor’s note: This story was modified on launch day.