February 11, 2019

Microsoft to all of us: “We make Office 2019. Please don’t buy Office 2019.”

by Tushar Nene in Microsoft, Software

Did you grow up with siblings? How did you get along with them? Sibling rivalry has always been a thing since time immemorial – not only within families, but within companies as well. We all saw it years ago when the Macintosh became the main machine from Apple over their Apple II series in the 80’s (come on folks, I know we’re not the only ones that have Pirates of Silicon Valley dialed up on our favorites list). And it seems that now it’s Microsoft Office’s turn.

Office 2019 was released in the fall of last year with its traditional list of SKU’s from their previous standalone products. These came with price tags ranging from $150 to $440 for a single license for 1 PC. But they had heavy competition. More than anything others could provide like Google’s GSuite, Office 2019’s biggest competition was actually their other namesake productivity suite, Office 365. And Microsoft’s been calling a lot of attention this week to which one is their favorite.

Last week Microsoft introduced The Twins Challenge – three sets of twins, each assigned tasks one would use Office for, to see which one could finish the tasks more quickly and effortlessly. The contests were in Excel, Powerpoint, and Word. And as expected, in each contest the twin that was equipped with Office 365 handily defeated their clone using the cloud-enabled features and additional tools Office 2019 doesn’t provide. “Office 365 crushes Office 2019,” was even the headline in their subsequent blog post here by Jared Spataro, Corporate VP for Office 365.

Do yourself a favor and watch the videos through the link above. They’re really quite something.

So here’s the thing. For Microsoft, an Office 365 subscription  provides a revenue stream instead of a single purchase – and I can’t be mad at them for that. Still, the benefits to the user are worth it. In my opinion the reasons to keep going with packages like Office 2019 on either standalone purchase or volume licensing are slim approaching none. At the time of the last standalone release of Office (2016), the boxed product was the same as the Office 365 version. With this new release, they have made a major distinction between the two product lines. Sure the standalone Office 2019 is a one time purchase instead of a subscription model, but it’s still only for one license. And you’ll have to shell out for a copy of the next version of Office too.

For both home and business users, Office 365 can provide 5 installs from a single subscription. For the home user, that can likely cover an entire household of PC’s or Macs. For the business user, this allows installs not only on the workplace machine but a home install as well, giving your people more flexibility to remain connected and productive in a work from home environment. For your road warriors this would cover their laptops and mobile devices as well. And as long as the subscription is active, you not only get standard updates, but entire version updates whenever Microsoft has a new release of the software, and all of the tools leveraging Microsoft’s cloud and AI-powered solutions.

Oh, and your finance department will be happier with you too – because you might have just converted a big capital cost into an operating expense.

Maybe those benefits aren’t enough though – there are some businesses that just aren’t ready to move to the cloud yet. And we get it. It can be big. It can be scary. It can be frighteningly cumulonimbus. We’ve worked with plenty of folks that just weren’t ready to make that transition just yet, who even kept on-premise Exchange Servers on site as well for their email solution. In the end they were all happier with their Office 365 deployments. It not only gave their users more flexibility and freedom, but their IT teams more administrative control too.

There’s really only one instance where we here at Near the Sun can recommend a purchase of Office 2019 over Office 365 – if you’re a close to broke college student and don’t need recurring payments on your likely strained finances, and your school doesn’t provide Office for you, the low-cost Home and Student version may be a better bet for you. I’ve been there kids. Books are expensive.

Ready to move into the cloud with your productivity software? We here at Near the Sun can put something together for you and migrate some of that system strain (and IT headache) offsite. Give us a call or shoot us an email at mercury@nearthesun.com, and let’s talk. Either way, you should visit us at www.nearthesun.com anyway.

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