Are You Ready to Subscribe to Office 365?
Tuesday, July 17th, 2012
Microsoft unveiled its new Office 365 software on July 16. It’s a major revision that jumps on some of the biggest trends in computing: mobile apps and subscriptions. You can even try it now for free. But are you ready to pay for your Office each month?
There are a lot of reasons to try out Office 365. In a preview page, Microsoft highlights its compatibility with different Windows 8 devices, pointing out ”new and better ways to create, edit, and browse—using a keyboard, pen, or touchscreen.”
Other features include cloud storage for documents, heavy integration of social networks, and even a promise of phone calls via Skype.
It’s not hard to see how useful Office 365 might be for event planners and association managers. You’ll still do the heavy lifting on a document at your desk. But you’ll also be able to work with that document on the go. Need to update a presentation or spreadsheet? Pull out your tablet, make the changes, and it’s done.
What’s the Real Price of Office 365?
Continuous access comes at a price, though. Microsoft isn’t really talking about that yet, but they’ve never been shy about charging a premium for their software. A monthly subscription for cloud storage would be very profitable. If your most important documents are in Microsoft’s cloud, you could be locked into their business model for years to come.
There’s also the question of which tablet you’ll be using Office 365 on. Microsoft has released apps for the iPad, but they are likely to save their best work for their new Surface tablets. If you want a tight connection between your desktop and your tablet, you might be buying a new piece of hardware.
And What About Google Apps?
Microsoft isn’t the only player in the “go anywhere” document market, either. Google Apps offers many of the same features, and it’s mostly free. On the other hand, Microsoft puts a lot of its polish into its Office software. Office 365 may have so convenient it’s worth the cost.
There are still a lot of unknowns with Office 365, but at least you can give the software a try. Sign up for the preview version here, and let us know what you think about it in the discussion forums.