Office 2013 Subscription vs Buying Outright

With the new version coming out should you go with an Office 2013 Subscription or just buy it?


With Microsoft Office set to be released in just a few weeks and speculation running rampant, a copy of Microsoft’s new pricing plan has finally been leaked to the public. The reason that this is more interesting than usual is that Microsoft appears to be trying to push home users to the Office 2013 subscription model as opposed to the traditional one time lump payment.


The leaked office pricing slide of Office 2013 Subscription and buying outright is as follows:


Office 2013 Subscription Pricing

Latest Office 2013 Pricing


While the numbers up top may at first appear much more attractive than the ones below, I for one don’t like the idea of adding yet another monthly expense to my budget just for a piece of software. We already have enough monthly bills when it comes to technology: cell phones, internet, cable, tablet data plan, home phone etc. To my mind I’d rather just make one payment and have the whole thing done with rather than adding another (albeit small) cost to that list. Sure Office 365 may offer some additional flexibility but we all already have a SkyDrive account for storing documents in the cloud anyway.

Let’s look a little deeper at these numbers:

Software Suite

Initial Release Date

Microsoft Office 2007

January 30, 2007

Microsoft Office 2010

January 15, 2010

Microsoft Office 2013

October 11, 2012

Release Date information as shown on Wikipedia

This means that between the release of 2007 and 2010 we have roughly 3 years or 36 months and between 2010 and 2013 there was a roughly 33 month gap.

We’re just working roughly here so assuming they come out with Office 2016 in 34 months that means under the Home Premium plan you will be paying 34*8.33 = $283.22 for an Office Subscription over those 34 months. After that time elapses you will presumably be upgraded to 2016 and continue paying the same monthly cost. The one time fee for the same software is $139 which is less than half of what you will pay for the Office 2013 subscription model.

The point has also been made that the monthly Office 2013 subscription allows you to install copies on several more computers than regular office (which allows for two concurrent installations) but to me two installations is enough for home use and this benefit doesn’t offset the cost of paying so much more over the three year period.

One final point: just because Office 2016 will be coming out after three years of 2013 doesn’t mean you HAVE to upgrade to the newest version right away. I’m sure there are many people out there still happily using Office 2007 at this point which is already 6 years old (oh how the time fly’s). This will skew the calculations even more in favor of the one-time payment option if in reality you are really getting much more than 34 months use out of your $139 purchase of Office 2013 Home Premium.

To me it looks clear that just buying the software outright is not only much less of a headache but also by far the better deal.

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