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Most Windows users are familiar with the Microsoft Office Suite, which includes Word, Excel, Outlook, PowerPoint and other programs. But were you aware that Microsoft has introduced a subscription version called Microsoft Office 365?

Microsoft Office 365

Microsoft Office 365 is Microsoft’s answer to the competition. With OpenOffice and Google Docs¬†available for free, Microsoft needed to reinvent its Office suite.

Microsoft Office 365

Traditionally, Office users paid for a DVD of the Office Suite. When it was time to upgrade, you bought and installed another DVD. Between upgrades, the software was static. Meaning you could not take advantage of new features without upgrading.

With Microsoft Office 365, users now subscribe to the service, paying a monthly or annual fee. Whenever a new version is released, you will be notified and can upgrade to the new version. That’s great news! And Microsoft says it will be making quarterly updates.

The fees for Microsoft Office 365 Home Premium are $99.99/yr or $9.99/mo. Sound steep? Actually, you can install it on up to 5 computers. So it’s less than you might think.

The suite of programs is also more complete than historical versions. Home Premium includes Word, Excel, PowerPoint, OneNote, Outlook, Publisher and Access.

With this software, Microsoft has embraced the cloud. Now, you can use Office away from home. Any internet connected PC can stream full versions of Microsoft Office 365. And, the service comes with 2 GB of online storage with SkyDrive, too.

In ITM’s opinion, this is a great deal for this software. Google Docs and OpenOffice are decent alternatives but have much smaller¬†market-share. When push comes to shove, most people want to use Microsoft Office.

So it seems friendly competition is a good thing! It’s pushing Microsoft to offer better products at a good price. For business users, consider the professional packages available.

Tell us what you think! Are you comfortable moving to subscription-based Microsoft Office 365? We’d love to hear from you!