It is finally here. Microsoft is pushing its subscription service, Office 365, full bore. It is not an easy option to find software to purchase outright; you now must subscribe. However, as with MS, it isn't always easy to understand what options are available to the end-user.
Google vs. Microsoft
I see our customers going two-ways: Google Apps for Work or Office 365.
Going with Google is very straight forward with a simple pricing model: $5/mo/user. That includes Email, Calendar, Docs (docs, sheets, forms, slides and sites), and the ability to store, sync, and share files with Drive; all from any Internet connection. It's pretty straight forward, and a lot of companies of ALL sizes believe in the model enough to migrate to it.
Now, with MS you have several options in different tiers and it gets confusing with both monthly and yearly prices. I've broke it down into 3 categories.
- Email ONLY is Office 365 Essentials http://products.office.com/en-us/business/office-365-business-essentials. $5/mo/user on a 12mo contract or $6/mo/user on a monthly basis. This gets you: email and calendars, online conferencing, IM and some simple file storage. IT DOES NOT get you the 'Office Suite' that include the traditional Word, Excel, PP, Outlook and etc. For that you have to have either the Business or Premium.
- Office Suite ONLY is office 365 business http://products.office.com/en-us/business/office-365-business and that gets you the traditional MS software packages (Word, Excel, Outlook, PP, etc.). It also allow that same software to be loaded on 5 other devices to include tablets and phones. You can also access Office Online and it comes with OneDrive. $8.25/mo/user ($99yr) with a 12mo commitment or $10/mo/user monthly. So, $99 per year per user. If you want email with that you need to upgrade to Office 365 Premium.
- Office Suite and Email is referred to as Office 365 Business Premium and costs $150/year ($12.50/mo)/user for a 12mo commitment or $15/mo without. Essentially you get both Office Essentials and Business.
As you can see to get apples compared to apples, you'd compare Google Apps to Office 365 Business Premium or $60/yr/user vs $150/yr/user.
Essentially every business in the land will need to understand this. The days of going dow the street to your local office supply store and buy a copy of Outlook or Office are pretty much done. Business productivity is moving to the cloud.
I think there is way to blend this to get the best of both worlds. Go with Google Apps for the heavy lifting and a majority of the business functionality. You get a very capable word process and spreadsheet utility that is VERY functional with .doc and .xls. And the, for the power Excel and Word users, just go with the $99 subscription model. I don't see any downside to this. Now, of course, this won't work for everyone. But, regardless, everyone is going to need to have this conversation.