Microsoft Office 365 Home Premium: Business Upside, Too?Microsoft Office 365 Home Premium: Business Upside, Too?
When Microsoft Office 365 Home Premium debuted today, it marked the company's latest consumer cloud push. And it could ultimately create more pull for Microsoft's (NASDAQ: MSFT) cloud services within business. Skeptical? Here's The VAR Guy's reasoning.
January 29, 2013
office365When Microsoft Office 365 Home Premium debuted today, it marked the company’s latest consumer cloud push. And it could ultimately create more pull for Microsoft’s (NASDAQ: MSFT) cloud services within business. Skeptical? Here’s The VAR Guy’s reasoning.
Office 365 Home Premium is not to be confused with forthcoming business updates that will debut February 27, 2013. Rather, today’s consumer release marks Microsoft’s latest effort to blur the lines between traditional PC software, cloud services and subscription-based pricing.
Indeed, the new suite includes “the latest and most complete set of Office applications; works across up to five devices, including Windows tablets, PCs and Macs; and comes with extra SkyDrive storage and Skype calling — all for US$99.99 for an annual subscription, the equivalent of US$8.34 per month.”
Ballmer’s Grand Plan
Read between the lines and Microsoft wants Office (on premises) and Office 365 (cloud) to blanket consumer desktops, notebooks and tablets. But Microsoft is leading the conversation with Office 365 (cloud) rather than on-premises releases like Office Home and Student 2013.
For channel partners, Microsoft’s latest consumer moves are worth watching. With Microsoft Office 365 Home Premium, Microsoft is:
training consumers to pay monthly or annual subscription fees. That mindset, Microsoft hopes, will increasingly spill over into the SMB market, where many entrepreneurs still buy packaged office suites;
setting the stage for SMBs to shift from Windows Small Business Server (now a dead product) to Office 365 and subscription services. Although today’s release was consumer-oriented, you can bet small business owners will begin to ask resellers if the suite has business options; and
rounding out an ambitious portfolio of upgrades and product launches. Surely, we’ll see some Office 365 Home Premium promotions tied to forthcoming Windows Surface Pro tablets running Windows 8.
Microsoft and its partners certainly need the shot in the arm. In the company’s most recent financial results, business application sales — Exchange, Lync, SharePoint — continue to generate double-digit growth. And The VAR Guy believes Office 365 is catching on with channel partners. But Windows 8’s debut seems to be a mixed bag so far — not the train wreck that open source fans claim, yet not a savior to lift the overall PC market.
Still, there’s strength in numbers. And in this case, the numbers involve multiple product upgrades and launches from Microsoft — including today’s Office 365 Home Premium debut.
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