Subscribe to Microsoft Office? Really?

by Jeff Rutowski on February 6, 2013

If you are a regular reader of this blog then you have probably figured out that I am an Apple user. You might have also figured out that I am not a very big fan of Microsoft.

It’s certainly true that Microsoft built hundreds if not thousands of applications for Apple. And if you have a Mac, you can actually load an instance of Windows onto your Mac so that you can run Windows programs. I’m not sure why anyone would try to mess up their Mac with Windows but you can do it if you want.

Microsoft Office is probably one of the most widely used application suite in the world. Microsoft Office is one of the suites that many others have tried to emulate with varying degrees of success. This past week Microsoft introduced a subscription version of its Office suite of applications.

Before I go much further, there are links in this post that are placed there by Skimlinks. You can read the Skimlinks disclosure on this blog. But the link directly below and the other link later in this post are not Skimlinks and they are not affiliate links. Just wanted you to know.

One of the biggest drawbacks to Microsoft Office for small business and home users was the expense. For only $300 or $400 you could buy Office for your computer. We’ve talked in this blog about the free alternative Open Office. Apple has iWork–it’s Office knock off. iWork has a spreadsheet program called Numbers. Pages is Apple’s answer to Word. And Keynote tries to be PowerPoint.

I was very interested to hear about that Microsoft Office was now available by subscription. For only $100 a year, you can subscribe to Office and load it on up to 5 computers–both PCs and Macs. The subscription comes with a SkyDrive account with 20 GB of storage and the Office subscription package automatically defaults to save docs on SkyDrive so that your documents are available wherever you are.

More and more people are becoming comfortable with subscription-based software. I find myself using more and more of it myself. For example, I subscribe to Skype and Evernote. Evernote has become one of my favorite apps of all time. So exploring the new Microsoft offering wasn’t too much of a stretch for me.

I signed up for the 30 day free trial of Microsoft Office. If you pay monthly, the service costs $9.99 a month. There are also small business and student versions available.

I downloaded the Mac version of Microsoft Office and installed it easily. Installing applications is one of the thing that Apple does a great job of where Microsoft always seems to ask tons of questions during PC installations.

So far, I’ve set up Outlook as my email program. I’ve never really liked the Apple’s Mail program. I’ve always had problems with setting different email accounts (I have many). I do use a Windows computer for another business so I am familiar with Outlook. That said, the Outlook experience on the Mac is nothing like Outlook on a PC.

I’ve also used Excel a little. I have opened some Excel files that I’ve created with Open Office and found that Microsoft Excel didn’t recognize some of my Open Office formulas.
I am an Excel power user and I’ve always been a little frustrated by the limitations of Open Office when I’ve needed some of those power features that Microsoft has baked into Excel. Open Office has worked fine for me for years but I have to admit that I like Exce better.

I am surprised to admit that I am excited about the subscription service and, as of now, I will very likely extend my subscription and actually pay for the full year up front. I am disappointed that there are not Office versions for iPhone and iPad. Maybe those are coming. Microsoft does have Office versions available for Surface and Windows Phone. Had they come up with these before I had my Mac, iPad and iPhone, I might have seriously considered a Windows solution to my Anywhere-I-Go office solutions.

If you are skeptical about the new Microsoft Office subscription, give the 30-day trial a try. Cancel if you want. But I think it’s worth a try.

About the author: Jeff Rutowski is the president of and a certified Guerrilla Marketing Coach. is a company dedicated to providing its customers with marketing lists, tips and tools. Mr Rutowski writes regularly for

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