Toss-up: Microsoft Office 2013

Microsoft Office 365 Home Premium.Microsoft is all but forcing you to rent the latest version of Microsoft Office, rather than buy it.

For $12 a month or $119 a year, Office 365 lets you install Microsoft Office 2013 on up to five home computers, which can be a combination of PCs and Macs. As well as productivity stalwarts Word, Excel, PowerPoint and OneNote, Office 365 subscribers get Outlook for checking email, Publisher for desktop publishing and Access for working with databases. Keep paying your subscription and you can upgrade to each new version of Office for nothing. Stop paying and the applications revert to read-only so you can’t create or edit documents.

Home users still have the option to buy a retail copy of Office Home & Student 2013, which works out cheaper than Office 365 if you only need one copy that you will replace every three years (assuming Office isn’t subscription-only by 2016). Microsoft has ditched the three-user family pack, so if you need more than two copies of Office at home, then Office 365 Home Premium probably makes sense.

While you save money opting for a single copy Office Home & Student 2013, you miss out on Outlook, Publisher and Access. You might not care about these business-focused applications, but it’s also worth reading the fine print. Unlike previous versions, your copy of Office Home & Student 2013 is locked to the first computer you install it on. If you upgrade to a new computer in 2014, or your old computer dies and needs replacing, you can’t transfer your copy of Office Home & Student 2013 to your new computer; you need to buy a new copy of Office. If you’re using Office 365, you can transfer one of your five licences to your new computer.

The verdict

Microsoft’s harsh licensing conditions make Office 365 the most sensible option for people who need more than one copy of Office 2013. If you don’t like the subscription model, it presents a good excuse to evaluate free open-source alternatives such as Apache OpenOffice.

Office 365 Home Premium$119 a yearmicrosoft苏州美甲美睫培训.au

Office Home & Student 2013$169microsoft苏州美甲美睫培训.au

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