Microsoft offers the Office productivity suite either as a one-time purchase for the traditional, standalone collection of desktop tools or through an Office 365 subscription. While both options are on the table, Microsoft has not been all that subtle when it comes to which model it thinks users should embrace. Now, with the launch of Office for iPad, the Office 365 subscription wins hands down.
Some users balk at the idea of paying for Microsoft Office indefinitely. The fact is that Office 365 is less expensive up front, possibly less expensive over time, and includes a variety of perks and benefits that you don’t get with the standalone suite — like Office for iPad.
When you buy the standalone Microsoft Office desktop suite, that’s all you get. The desktop suite costs significantly more up front and is licensed for only one PC. Period. Office Home & Student 2013 costs $140, and it only includes Word, Excel, PowerPoint, and OneNote. For $220, you can get Office Home & Business 2013, which adds Outlook — or for $400 you can get Office Professional 2013, which includes everything in Office Home & Business 2013, plus Publisher, Access, and some additional tools.