Subscribe, Not Purchase?

There’s a post today on Microsoft’s official Office blog that talks about Office and the Cloud. One thing that leapt out at me was this:

As part of the Customer Preview, we announced that you’ll be able to sign up for an Office subscription, which will ensure that wherever you go and whatever Windows device you are on, the latest and greatest version of Office will be there for you. We’ll be talking more about our subscription offer in a future post so please stay tuned.

I’m all ears. I fear that in future, we will no longer be able to purchase the Office software, but we will have to subscribe (on a yearly basis?). I prefer to be able to purchase software, and then be able to make an informed decision about whether I upgrade to the latest and greatest version. It’s for that reason that I’m still using Office 2007 (and some of my neighbours are still using Office 2003). I, and they, saw no reason to upgrade. Will I move to Office 2013 – and will I have to also move to a different pricing structure? Time will tell.

Update: I see that John Jendrezak (the author of the Microsoft blog post) has replied to my question assuring me that we will still be able to purchase the software as we always have done. So that’s a relief.

About Geoff Coupe

I'm a British citizen, although I have lived and worked in the Netherlands since 1983. I came here on a three year assignment, but fell in love with the country, and one Dutchman in particular, and so have stayed here ever since. On the 13th December 2006 I also became a Dutch citizen.
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2 Responses to Subscribe, Not Purchase?

  1. Robert Dammers says:

    Pricing is going to be a very delicate matter. Yes, I can see that subscription (which encourages everyone to get services) give guaranteed income, and continuous revenue is something software vendors want. But they are going to have a problem with market segmentation. They are competing with LibreOffice on PCs and Macs, and when they get the Windows 8 devices, they are competing with iLife (at about a tenner per component) on iPads. So they will have to be very clever if they don’t want to end up decimating the market.

    Fun, huh?

    BTW – I’ve been following your WHS comments with great interest. I’m still a V1 user, with 3Tb internal, and 5Tb external. I have my TechNet license for WHS 2011 ready for installation (with a DriveBender license to go with it), and am just wondering whether I might go straight to Server 2012 Essentials. Problem is, copying all my old data between structures is going to be the work of many days, so a lot of courage is necessary before proceeding!

    Best wishes,

    • Geoff Coupe says:

      Hi Robert, good to hear from you. As you will have probably seen, I’ve updated the post with the news that Microsoft won’t be dropping the ability to purchase the software. So the subscriptions become an additional feature. I agree it’s going to be interesting to analyze the wrinkles. Probably we’ll have to build scenario models in Excel 2013 to do it.

      WHS v1 has held up pretty well. It’s a pity that WHS 2011 was such a disappointment by comparison. The guys over at The Home Server Show ( are discussing whether WSE 2012 is a suitable replacement for WHS, and Paul Branen ( is putting out some great videos showing the setup of WSE.

      While I think WSE.2012 will be a doddle for you, I really don’t think it is at all suitable for home users, despite what Microsoft say. And the price! Plus the fact that I rely on MyMovies for my HTPC, and there won’t be a version of this made for WSE 2012…


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