If you’ve been holding off from the latest Office 365 package because the non-commercial requirement doesn’t match your usage patterns, you can now hold off no more. Microsoft has officially announced its pricing structure and package details for the 2013 update to Office 365, and they’re not too far off from what was offered in the 2011 launch version.

A Pro Plus subscription will fetch a $12 USD price for each user per month (or $144 per year), which gives you access to the basic Office 2013 software for each individual user. That includes Word, PowerPoint, Excel, Access, OneNote and Publisher from the consumer package, along with the addition of InfoPath and IT control services. The medium-sized business offering (equivalent to $15 USD for each user per month, or $180 USD per year) adds Lync, SharePoint and Exchange services. A more user-friendly package for small business use is also provided as an option, with a price of $15 USD per month (or $12.50 per month by paying $150 USD per year) – but does not provide the SharePoint service of the mid-size businesses option.

Sadly, the restrictions to Windows 7 and later still apply (for obvious reasons). But at the same time, you don’t have to worry about repurchasing the software just for replacing a dead machine if you choose the subscription option, nor do you have to give up older versions that are grandfathered in as machine-transferrable software. With the IT world’s move to the cloud becoming increasingly common, however, one would expect the latest version of the most common office software package to ultimately follow the trend. In fact, Microsoft still remains committed to providing business users with Office Web Apps – even with the Office on Demand offering now available for users of Office 2013. That part, however, was not mentioned in the announcement for some reason – so I don’t know it that’s included or not.

Of course, Google still beats Microsoft in terms of pricing. But then again, if you need the more powerful feature set that Office 2013 provides, then an Office 365 account is the service to beat. You can subscribe the new Office 365 service updates beginning this week.

[Source Microsoft]