One of the keystones of Microsoft’s software strategy as of late has been to encourage people to purchase subscriptions rather than buying one-offs for individual programs. To help encourage that, the firm is giving away Windows 10 for free to anyone with a Windows 7 or 8 license, but it will be charging for the new version of Office. However unlike 365, 2016 is available for a set fee, too.
Microsoft would still rather you subscribed (for either $10 a month, or $100 for the year), as evidenced by its giant subscription breakdown on the official product page. However, it does begrudgingly tell you about the benefits of a one-off payment, if only so it can show off the additional features you can get as part of an Office 365 subscription.
That said, if you don’t need all of those extras, or just prefer a traditional software purchase model, you can buy Office Home & Student 2016 for $150. It gives you one install (rather than five with a subscription) and a free 15GB of online storage as part of Microsoft’s OneDrive.
There are other versions available too if you want more features though. There’s the Office Home and Business version, which also gives access to Microsoft’s Outlook email software, and that is available for $230. For real power users, there’s the Office Professional 2016, which adds Publisher and Access to the mix, in the process bumping the price up considerably to $400.
For comparison, Microsoft’s subscription packages would cost less than $100 a year for even the full Office 365 Home. There’s also the 365 Personal package which is even less, at $70 — though of course you’ll be paying for it for as long as you use it.
Whether you opt for the single, one-off payment, or a rolling subscription, Office 2016 is available for Mac users too — it will be interesting to see how many Apple users can be converted to using software made by their old enemy.
Despite its enormous popularity, office productivity software is changing—rapidly and drastically, moving online and to the cloud. Microsoft itself has recently said that the new Office experience is built in recognition of this new mobile and cloud-first world (which was supposed to be the focus all along, we thought). In other words, Office 2016’s importance is not as stand-alone software, but as part of the Office 365 subscription service. Read all about it here.
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