Office 365 – Software on subscription



For many years when you wanted to purchase Microsoft Office, you purchased either as:

– OEM with a new computer

– Retail box

– or on Volume Licencing

You will be familiar with versions such as Office 97, Office 2003, Office 2007, Office 2010 and Office 2013.

You could purchase these versions as “Home”, “Home and business” or the “Professional” editions depending on the applications you wanted and the price.

The advantage was when you purchased these versions, it was a “one time” purchase and you could use the software for as long as you wanted to. The downside especially with the Professional version was that it was quite expensive.

Office 365

To Quote Microsoft:

“Office 365” refers to subscription plans that include access to Office applications plus other productivity services that are enabled over the Internet (cloud services), such as Lync web conferencing and Exchange Online hosted email for business, and additional online storage with OneDrive.”

Instead of purchasing Microsoft Office outright you subscribe to it on an annual basis. The important point to note here is that one years subscription only buys one years access. So as long as you pay the annual fee you will have continued access and receive the latest versions of Office.

Office 365 continues to offer different plans that you can sign up to depending on your application requirements.

The advantage especially with the Professional version of Office 365 means you don’t have the big purchase up front and can spread this cost over the yearly subscription.

Cloud versus desktop apps

Given that not every Office 365 plan includes the desktop applications, can you make do with just the cloud versions? We don’t think so. For most of our business clients the desktop suite is a requirement.

The cloud and mobile apps have many basic features of the desktop versions and they’re generally fine for simple documents, but they lack a number of advanced features. For example, Word Online lacks track changes and mail merge, and PowerPoint Online has fewer animations and transitions. The big problem with the cloud versions – particularly for commuters and travellers – is needing to be online to access your documents.

So, while Office 365 cloud version has a lot to offer businesses, most, if not all will need an Office 365 plan that includes the desktop suite.


Its hard to predict where Microsoft plan to take this, but we can see a day where software will no longer be sold on DVD and it will be totally subscription based. For Microsoft this would deal with Piracy issues, logistics of delivery and consolidate their platform. That maybe a while off yet, but it certainly seems that we are in a transition phase whereby Software as a Service, or Software by subscription is here to stay.

Brainworx is a reseller for Office 365 and are happy to answer any further questions you may have – so please contact us today.