We had a reader pretty fired up about the cost of Microsoft Office. “I have 4 computers in my house. Microsoft office wants $150 each for a lifetime license on Office 365. Or $99 per year for all 4. Question #1 : When did Microsoft get into the ransomware business ? Question # 2 am I crazy to pay as much for this one software license as I did for the new HP Pavilion computer ? Question # 3 : Why should I pay $99 per year to access MY WORK ?”
Let’s go over this point by point. Understand that if you have already installed a copy of Word or Office on your PC from a disc, that license isn’t going to expire. It’s a lifetime license for that PC. If those programs are on your computer, you don’t need to do anything.
The price you’re quoting for a lifetime installation of Office is about right. That’s the price it’s been for some time. But realize that Office is more than just one program. It’s Word, Excel, PowerPoint and Outlook. You could choose to get a subscription to Office 365 for $99 per year. That subscription is good for up to 5 devices. Now, if you get the Office subscription and let it lapse, you can still read those documents you’ve created in Word and Excel. You just won’t be able to edit them in those programs. But you can certainly open them in other programs like WordPad or any other nearly any other word processing or spreadsheet program.
I’m not sure where you’re getting “ransomware.” Ransomware sneaks onto your computer and locks it. Office is something you choose to buy and install. It’s an expensive program that can do a lot.
In fact, it may be a little more than you even need for home use. If you’re just looking for a word processor, the WordPad program that comes with Windows does a good job.
Or you can use Office, Excel and Powerpoint for free online at Outlook.com. They will allow you to create, read and edit any documents or presentations originally created in Office. The free apps are also available for Android and iPhone and iPad.
You could also choose to download free office suites like LibreOffice or Open Office. These programs allow you to also read and edit any file created in Office and also to create new ones.
I have the $99 a year Office 365 subscription and I like it a lot. I like Word and I like having the Outlook mail client available. I also appreciate that I got an automatic upgrade to Office 2016 when it became available. No need to buy another disc and install. I’ve been very happy with Office, so I’m glad to renew. But whether or not it makes sense for you will depend on how many of the functions of a paid Office subscription you really use.
Wordpad or one of the free options may be a better fit for you.