Microsoft unveiled the consumer preview of Microsoft Office 2013 in July 2012 allowing users to try out the beta version of Office 2013 for free. Office 2013 incorporates the user interface and design language Microsoft are rapidly reshaping all of their products to make use of – a promient example being Windows 8 – but also for their online services.
Outlook.com is the flagship replacement to Microsoft’s Hotmail online e-mail service. The user interface of Outlook.com is very minimal, taking design cues from Microsoft’s “Metro” design language. The user interface appears very flat and minimalist – and while it is – it definitely is unique.
Even though Microsoft Office runs like a traditional application, the user interface has been optimised for both touch- and mouse-based input because of it using the Metro interface design language. Personally, I would have preferred it being a native Metro application that runs in the Metro environment, but nonetheless, Microsoft has done a good job at balancing when changing the user interface to be flatter, simpler and make use of the Metro design language.
Microsoft has officially announced the pricing structure for their Office applications, and you have the choice between buying the suite and purchasing a yearly subscription which also includes the software – somewhat similar to Adobe Creative Cloud which is essentially a subscription service that also provides you with a licensed copy of most of Adobe’s creative applications – such as Photoshop, Illustrator, Flash Professional and Dreamweaver – depending on the subscription you sign up to.
For subscription-based packages, the Office 365 Home Premium edition costs $99 USD per year (equivalent to approximately £61.67 per year). The Office 365 Small Business Premium costs $149.99 USD per year (per user) (equivalent to approximately £92.51 per year, per user).
For licensed copies of Office 2013, Home & Student is priced at $139.99 USD (equivalent to approximately £86.35), the Home & Business edition is priced at $219.99 USD (equivalent to approximately £135.70) and the Office 2013 Professional edition is priced at $399.99 USD (equivalent to approximately £246.48). Unlike the subscription-based service which is good for 5 separate PC or Macs, the local Office 2013 copies are only licensed for one PC or Mac per purchase. The subscription-based Office 365 is an online-based Office suite, but subscribers will also get:
- Additional 20GB of SkyDrive storage
- 60 minutes of free Skype calls
- Outlook, Access and Publisher – which is not included with Office 2013 Home & Student
Microsoft has not yet announced when Office 2013 will be available, although if you need Office 2010, starting 19 October 2012, customers will be eligible to a free upgrade path to Office 2013 for when it is publicly released.
View the document from Microsoft regarding Office 2013 pricing.