Microsoft Office 365 vs. Office 2013

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Office 365 or Office 2013, Which Should You Choose?

Microsoft Office Logo

With the introduction of Microsoft Office 365, many users of Microsoft’s traditional Office programs have felt as if they are being phased out for the new cloud based productivity solution.

Microsoft is obviously attempting to make it more attractive to move to their Office 365 product which is a subscription based product as opposed to the versions of Office which we’ve become accustomed to where you physically install the software on a machine.  See the breakdown of the difference in price between Office 365 and Office 2013.

Microsoft Office Comparison Chart

As you can see from the table above, Office 365 at first glance seems like a better buy.  This is because Microsoft allows you to use it on 5 PCs plus select mobile devices.  This is in contrast to Microsoft’s standard Office 2013 suite which is more expensive initially and can only be used on one machine.

While the standalone suite may be more expensive, you also have to keep in mind that you are purchasing the software once and do not have to pay any extra fees unless you plan on upgrading to a new version.

Office 365 offers a less expensive option up front, but requires you to pay $99.99 per year for as long as you use the product.  This begs the question of whether Office 365 or Office 2013 is a better buy?

To answer this question, it is important to look at the advantages of both products.

Advantages of Office 365

  • Cloud Based – Microsoft’s Office 365 is completely cloud based which allows you to access your documents from anywhere including a web browser or your mobile phone.
  • Cost Effective – If you are a large company, Microsoft gives you price breaks to utilize their Office 365 products.  This can include full Exchange based email services.
  • Automatic Updates – With Office 365 there is no need for your IT department to push out software updates and patches.  All of this is done through the cloud and is completely transparent to the end user.
  • Reduced IT Costs – No longer do you have to pay IT personnel to troubleshoot issues with Microsoft Office.  Users access Office 365 via the cloud and any issues can be directed to Microsoft which can allow your IT resources to focus on more important issues.

Advantages of Office 2013

  • No Annual Fees – The primary benefit of Office 2013 over Office 365 is that once you pay the initial licensing fee, you have the software for life.  There are no additional fees which make budgeting easier for a business.
  • Same User Interface – Microsoft Office is one of the most recognized user interfaces on the planet.  Office 365 takes a bit of getting used to whereas Office 2013 is the familiar interface that we have all grown to love.

Which One should I Choose?

While it is a tough decision as to whether to pick Office 365 or Office 2013, you really have to look at how you will be using the software.  If you want to be able to access your documents and spreadsheets from anywhere, Office 365 is likely for you.  If you are more likely to be using the same machine to access your important documents, then you will likely be fine choosing Office 2013.

Related Reading About Microsoft Office Products

Compare Office suites (Chart)

Office 365 Resource Page

Office 2013 Resource Page

Microsoft restores transfer rights for retail Office 2013 copies

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