For those that don't know Office 365 is basically a 1 year lease of "Office Professional", with some bonuses (80 Skype minutes, an additional 20G of sky drive space, and Office on Demand). They want people to go to a leased model - and who can blame them. It provides a steady stream of revenue, and they only have to maintain the "latest" version. If everyone is on the latest product, no one has to maintain security updates and patches for software that was released years ago.
Also by dangling the "5 license carrot" this product becomes very appealing - especially to those of us that want the additional software such as outlook / publisher / one note. This breaks down to less than $2 per month per computer - Giving "Free" a run for it's money.
If you are looking for the 'core' office items (Word / Excel / PowerPoint) to use on one or perhaps two PC's - Simply buy Office Home and Student.
PRO's of 365:
1. Price - If you are comparing 365 to the Office Professional then spending $100 VS $400 (or even $219 for Office Home/Business) is tempting. What really adds to the temptation of 365 is that you can install it on 5 machines as opposed to one machine on the other platforms. So if you need office on your home computer, laptop, and the kids school computer - office 365 may be the route to take; And you would still have 2 licenses left. If you make full use of the 5 licenses you are only paying $1.66 per month per computer.
2. FULL office suite. Your get all 7 software pieces found in Office Pro - Word, Excel, PowerPoint, Outlook, OneNote, Publisher, Access.
3. Virtual Office - If for whatever reason you don't have your computer with you, you can access 'office on demand'. This will stream a copy of office to any internet connected machine and you can access your files via sky drive. Nice if you are at someones house / public internet terminal.
4. No longer cloud only - In the past 365 was a cloud only app - the software had limited features and capabilities compared to the full desktop versions, and if you didn't have an Internet connection you didn't have Office. No more though, you run the real software on your machine locally - so if you are on a plane, or without internet you can still use the product.
5. "Free" Upgrades - With 365 you are leasing the latest version. So as long as you maintain your subscription, in a few years when the next version comes out you will be able to upgrade without having to 're-buy' office.
1. You are 'locked in' - Every year you must renew your lease if you want continued functionality. You will still be able to view your documents and notes, but if you don't renew you loose the ability to edit them.
2. Tablet support - 365 works well on Win 8 tablets, but no support yet for Android or Apple.
3. Price - There is no price guarantee, what is $100 this year may be $149 next year. Although I don't see Microsoft pulling any "Gotchas!" with this product. They already know there is some pretty stiff free competition by Google and Open Office. I think the $100 price point is here for at least 2 years perhaps 3, then we will see a sales pitch to "renew early and avoid the price increase to 119".
The bottom line is this, Office 365 is a good product that runs quite smooth, 365 is now a solid product. It feels more streamlined than office 2010, and it can really reclaim those people that switched to the free software. At less than $2 per month per computer its a good deal.