Is the Office 365 University Suite Really Necessary?

Is the Office 365 University Suite Really Necessary?

We are all used to doing things a certain way and sometimes even the smallest digression from that pattern means that we will not feel comfortable with the new situation. In the case of the Microsoft Office suite the simplest thing like the continuous word count in the lower left corner that MS Word displays or the way Excel has a specific style of formatting the cells, can be the reason why many people have not moved to the free alternate program Open Office. And, even though the day when MS Office will be a free program for personal use is nowhere in sight, a recent announcement from Microsoft has made it just that little bit more affordable.

In an attempt to popularize the Office 365 Suite, Microsoft will be offering the student version for $79.99 starting from the first quarter of 2013. For those not familiar with the Office 365 concept, it does not refer to the latest desktop/laptop release but to the Cloud version of all the apps that you would normally associate with MS Office. So now, instead of installing Office on your personal computer you will open your favorite program like MS Word or Excel on a webpage from any computer you may have handy at the moment. It does not need to have any support on your hard drive but Microsoft strongly recommends that you use the online apps in concert with the computer based program.

And this is really where the student offer gets really enticing because for your $80 you will receive not only access to the web based apps but also a 4 year license for 2 computers running the hard drive installed version of MS Office. In the student rendition you will get access to Word, Excel, PowerPoint, Outlook, OneNote, Access and Publisher and several more goodies that will certainly make the investment worth your while. In addition to everything you could want or hope from a Microsoft offer you also get 20 GB storage on Skydrive in addition to the 7 GB that any Skydrive user gets for free and 60 Skype “worldwide minutes”.

If you do the math, and don’t worry Microsoft have already done it and are already bragging, it boils down to a $1.67 per month subscription. And, considering what you get for it, it does sound like a very good deal. However, as it stands today, the offer does beg the question: do students really work so hard that they need the online version of Microsoft?

There are many studies out there suggesting that Facebook is a more arduous concern for students than their studies even when they are not on vacation. And if they are not on vacation, and thus away from their computer, why would they go online to work on their school projects? Of course, for Microsoft, bundling the two systems in their cheapest offer was a brilliant move because, even if a student only needs to use the online version once every year during the 4 year license, once it expires, they will likely invest in an offer that has the exact same features next because they have gotten used to it.

By Luchi Gabriel Manescu

About Luchi

Luchi is a Sociology major that worked as a technician in a computer shop to put himself through collage. He then continued to work for HP as a data analyst while trying to assert himself as a soft skills trainer. Finally he found the perfect balance between his diverging skills when he started writing tech related articles almost 3 years ago and since then he has continued to learn about almost every aspect of the IT world while continuously working on his writing skills.

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