The Good Microsoft Office 365 Home Edition is a significant update that delivers all the familiar software, with a reinvented interface, tools that make common processes easier, and a cloud-friendly system that lets you work from anywhere.
The Bad The $100-a-year subscription will be hard for many people to swallow. The upgraded apps are not available for Mac at this time, and won't be for 12 to 18 months.
The Bottom Line Familiar tools coupled with new features and a simplified and redesigned interface make Office 2013 well worth the paid upgrade.
Designed for tablets, but great for everyone
Editor's note: This review has been updated with new information regarding stand-alone licenses.
I really like the new Microsoft Office 2013, even knowing there are several free productivity suites available out there. I wouldn't blame you for asking why you would pay for it when you could get a comparable set of office tools from Google Docs and several other services for a lot less or even free. But after using Office 365 Home Premium on both a tablet and a desktop PC for the last few days, I can tell you that there are plenty of reasons to trade up.
A note about nomenclature: there are an enormous number of versions of the Microsoft Office suite available across the home and business categories. You can purchase and download standalone versions with either Microsoft Office Home and Student 2013 ($139) or Microsoft Office Home and Business 2013 ($219). There are additional versions with volume pricing for small and large businesses. But what Microsoft is banking on are the subscription services that have a few more perks, such as endless upgrades as they become available, and still offer most of the same downloadable software. These are Office 365 Home Premium ($99.99 per year) and Office 365 Small Business Premium ($150 per year). There's also a great deal for current students, Office 365 University at only about $40 per year (with a minimum two-year subscription). The pricing breakdown and naming conventions are highly confusing, but.
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