Top critical review
279 people found this helpful
A good deal for Microsoft, but a poor deal for the buyer. Far too many usage issues
on 24 February 2013
Microsoft have two major income streams. The largest is from licensing Windows and the second is from Office.
Income from Windows was much reduced on the release of Windows 7 and has dropped further since Windows 8 was released. The corporate buyers are refusing to commit to either upgrade and that is where the big bucks should derive. Office provided a steady, but not dramatically large, income stream for many years but the impact of freebies such as Open Office and Libre Office and the costs of licensing hundreds and possibly thousands of users makes the no-cost alternatives very attractive. To add to the problem, employees using Libre or Open Office may well be tempted to use the same software at home and the truth is that many have. Many of these freebies are functionally identical to the mainstream products in all but a few little-used areas and, interface aside, few will notice or regret the move from the paid-for product.
Microsoft needed to come up with an alternative plan and the current license model where the license is not transferable from one user to another or from one machine to its successor owned by the same user may seem attractive to MS, especially if the annual, renewable license is chosen which produces a guaranteed income for a number of years. Adobe use a similar model and some suggest that it is negatively affecting their sales. It is less than attractive to most potential purchasers.
Unless there is an absolute necessity to remain loyal to MS Office, perhaps if the extra modules included with the Professional version or above (Visio, for example) are an essential, or especially if you want to to have a unified user interface with Windows 8 - the product which alone is internally considered an economic failure within Microsoft - then you will lose little by adopting one of the freebies.
The current deal makes little sense to the end-user and those who have Office 2007 or 2010 may wish to continue using them. The differences are slight and primarily GUI-related.
As the software is not provided on media, it needs to be downloaded and for many it is a less than simple solution as their connections don't have the needed speed or consistency. With some ISP's tendency to unannounced arbitrary disconnections, you may need to attempt several downloads before succeeding with one. Paying close to £100 for this annoying privilege, is not a good deal.
No longer recommended!
POSTSCRIPT @ 07-2013
Although purchasing a licensed copy from a legitimate source, it has twice negated the registration after a single use. I have decided to call it a day with this nonsense and have switched to using LibreOffice 4. It is a freebie, is problem free and compatible with all the MS Office alternatives that I am likely ever to use or need.
Although MS have apparently responded to some of the end-user and press reactions to this software, I feel wholly unable to offer a recommendation and strongly suggest using one or other of the excellent freebies that exist. Save your money!