Byte Me Article 444 – Microsoft Office

Microsoft Office

Following on from last weeks’ article where we opened a can of worms, we had better continue here today to talk about all the different versions of Microsoft Office.  There have been so many different versions of Office and different license structures that a dedicated article is needed to help dispel myths and inform those that are dependent upon its use.  I apologise in advance for the technical nature of the following content.

Microsoft Office is not to be confused with Microsoft Windows.  Windows is an operating system and comes with every PC.  Office is a separate productivity suite which is never free and is not needed by everyone.  Different versions of Office contain different individual sub-programs such as Word, Excel, PowerPoint, Publisher, Access & OneNote.  Once purchased the Office suites got ‘locked’ to the PC’s that they were installed on and the initial purchase price covered their use for as long as the PC lasted.

Early versions of Office started over 20 years ago with the more recent versions (that we still see at the shop) being 2000, 2003,  2007, 2010, 2013, 2016 & the latest 2019.  All these versions shipped as a small pack with a 25-digit unique code and with, or more recently without a CD.  To complicate matters further, within each of the named year editions there were sub-editions such as Basic, Student & Teacher, Home & Student, Standard, Small Business, Home & Business, Business, Premium, Professional & Developer!

If the above were not complex enough there have also been changes in licensing from a single pack only servicing once PC to licensing one desktop and a laptop to even licensing as many as 3 PC’s.  There has also been a rule as part of Microsoft’s EULA (End User License Agreement) that the Student or Home & Student versions were illegal for use in a business (commercial) environment.

To add even more confusion, around 2011 Microsoft released its Office 365 versions of Office that essentially contained the same software, however it is ‘rented’ to the end user in exchange for either a monthly or yearly subscription fee.  There are also both ‘Home’ and ‘Business’ versions of office 365 and again – sub versions of each!

Starting with home use – you can rent Office 365 Personal for $99/year for use on just your devices only, or you can rent the Office 365 Home edition at $129/year to cover all the devices of up to a 6-member family.  None of these versions should be used for commercial purposes and the lack the ability to offer proper exchange-based emails.

Commercial versions of Office 365 start with Office 365 Business Essentials at $7/month for the best, most secure and most compatible email service on the planet.  Next up at $13/month is Office 365 Business which gives the user the ability to install the latest version of Office on up to 5 devices.  Lastly Office 365 Premium combines the licensing of Business with the email facility of Essentials.

We highly recommend all existing businesses and any startup businesses to consider the Office 365 business versions to aide in the fight against hackers and spammers. 

Future Byte Me topics can be emailed to [email protected] and Bruce is contactable at Kerr Solutions, 205 Musgrave Street or on 07 49 222 400.

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