Office365 is a pretty cool offering and we (itgroove) are working with a number of customers to help migrate them to 365. There are all sorts of reasons for going to 365 but one of the cooler ones, from my point of view, is the ability for users to obtain multiple copies of Office for their own use. Let me explain …
In the last month I’ve upgraded my home machine from Office 2007 to Office 2010 to Office 2013 and I haven’t spent a cent to do so. itgroove has an Office365 account that includes “E3” plan accounts for all of the staff in the company. The Office365 E3 plan includes the rights to use up to 5 copies of the current version of Office available by each plan user. That means I can have Office 2013 (the latest shipping version) on my office laptop, my home machine and three other machines using the same “license”. I could, for instance also use this license on my wife’s home laptop if she wanted to use Office 2013 (she is very happy with her current Office 2012 so we’ll leave her machine alone). There is no cost to me, personally, for these licenses as they come with the plan. If I were to leave itgroove and my Office365 account was deleted, the “365” Office licenses would “expire” on my machines at month end and I would no longer have the use of software.
My home machine started with my own copy of Office 2007. When I got my 365 account I ran the Office install from 365 and, at that time, it was Office 2010. The web-based install took about 10 minutes and I was magically upgraded to Office 2010. Last week, Microsoft rolled out Office 2013 on Office365 and I was able to upgrade with another quick 10 minute web-based install. Painless!
So, if your organization has given you an Office365 account you should ask if your account includes Office, if it does you should make use of the “user rights”!
If you are looking at Office 365 for yourself (money is coming out of your pocket) you need to decide if the monthly subscription fee for a plan that includes Office user rights is worth it for you. OEM and retail licenses of Office for home users are relatively cheap so the monthly Office365 subscription fee *might* look a bit pricey; BUT keep in mind the subscription cost is really for 5 licenses (you can install on 5 machines) so you need to factor that into your calculations. You also need to factor into your calculations what you get with the whole Office365 package: email, SharePoint, Lync. There is a lot of value here, even for a single individual. Finally, keep in mind that Microsoft will be adding functionality and features to Office365 and the Office365-supplied version of Office on a pretty continual basis so you’ll always have the latest and greatest. Pretty sweet considering you don’t have to worry about handling patching and upgrading!