Is Microsoft crazy to diss Office 2019? Like a fox.

Preston Gralla2019-03-12 10:00:00

When was the last time you heard a company denigrate its own product — and practically beg you not to use it? Most likely never.

Well, there’s a first time for everything, and Microsoft is breaking ground in product marketing in a decidedly odd way, telling its customers not to use Office 2019 because it’s old, kludgy, hard to use and, in general, not just up to the task.

Sounds like lunacy, right? But it’s not. That’s because the company isn’t telling you to abandon Office entirely. Instead, Microsoft is throwing shade on Office 2019 to get you to switch to the subscription version of Office, Office 365. So while the campaign to disparage Office 2019 may sound bizarre, there are plenty of good reasons for it.

First, a bit of background. Office 2019 is the latest version of what Microsoft calls the “perpetual version” of Office. You pay for it once and own it forever. It doesn’t get upgraded until the next major version is released, typically not for several years. You can use it on only one computer. Prices vary depending on the version, for example, $150 for the Home & Student version, $250 for the more powerful Home & Business version, and a variety of pricing plans for enterprises.

Office 365, the subscription version of Office, by way of contrast, gets continually updated, and has many powerful features that the perpetual version of Office will never get, such as collaboration with co-workers via Excel, Designer and QuickStarter design tools for PowerPoint, and a number of researching and editing tools for Word. The price varies, depending on which Office applications you want, and how many devices you want to use it on, from $70 a year for Office 365 Personal to $100 a year for Office 365 Home, plus a number of different pricing plans for enterprises.

Do the math, and you’ll see that Microsoft makes a lot more money if you subscribe to Office 365 than if you buy Office 2019. Use Office 365 Home for five years and you’ll pay $500; use Office Home & Student 2019 for five years and you’ll pay $150. Of course, if you have multiple devices, you’ll be better off with Office 365, because you’ll be able to use it on an unlimited number of devices. And with Office 365, you also always get the latest and greatest features. So for plenty of people, it’s a better deal than the perpetual version.

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