Microsoft has released Microsoft Office 2016 for Windows desktop productivity software suite. With it, Microsoft is also making a big push for consumers to go for Office 365 annual subscriptions. This reflects in the pricing strategy on Office 2016.

To get your hand on Office 2016, you can either pay upfront for one-time purchase license, or subscribe to an Office 365 plan that includes Office desktop software. If you already have a Office 365 subscription, you’re entitled to free upgrade to Office 2016 or free download of Office 2016, which you can install from Office 365 portal, or wait for automatic upgrade notification to start the upgrade anytime now (for Current Branch) or scheduled from forth quarter of 2016 for Current Branch for Business (unless those on First Release for Current Branch for Business which available immediately).

Microsoft Office

If you’re interesting in one-time purchase of perpetual Office 2016 license that lasts forever, here’s the costs that you have to pay:

For home users:

Office Home & Student 2016 – $149.99
Office Home & Business 2016 – $229.99

For businesses:

Office Professional 2016 – $399.99

If the price of perpetual Office 2016 license is too expensive for you, you can purchase an Office 365 subscription that includes fully installed Office applications:

For home users:

Office 365 Home – $99.99 per year or $9.99 per month (for 5 PCs and Macs)
Office 365 Personal – $69.99 per year or $6.99 per month

For businesses:

Office 365 Business – $8.25 per user/month (annual commitment) or $10.00 per user/month
Office 365 Business Premium – $12.50 per user/month (annual commitment) or $15.00 per user/month
Office 365 ProPlus – $12.00 per user/month
Office 365 Enterprise E3 – $20.00 per user/month
Office 365 Enterprise E4 – $22.00 per user/month
Office 365 Enterprise E5 – $35.00 per user/month

All of the Office 365 subscription plans include basic Office productivity apps, i.e. Word, Excel, PowerPoint, OneNote. The different pricing for various Office 365 plans, especially the plans for businesses, reflects the different features, functions and services that included in each plan. For example, some plans especially business plans also includes Outlook (PC and Mac), Publisher and Access (PC only) desktop app, in addition to other services such as online storage (OneDrive), SharePoint, Exchange email mailbox and etc.

The benefit of Office 365 subscription is that you’ll be getting get new versions of Office, e.g. Office 2019 or Office 2020 when they’re released in future. The caveat is that you need to keep subscribing to the plan (i.e. keep paying). As you don’t own the license nor have the product key, as and when you discontinue the payment or unsubscribe from Office 365, you lose the rights to use the Office software applications. Other than Office desktop apps, Office 365 plans

Note that if you want to access your Office files on tablets, phones or other Internet-connected mobile devices for the fully installed Office experience, you must have a Office 365 subscription.