Microsoft is on the spotlight following a couple of controversial ads dubbed The Twins Challenge that seems to be taking jabs at Microsoft’s own Office 2019 in favor of its subscription service, Microsoft 365. Clearly, Microsoft really really doesn’t want you to buy Office 2019. But is Microsoft 365 really all that much better than Office 2019?
From these ads, it is clear that Microsoft wants you to think that Office 365 is much much better. And to be fair, it comes with a lot of neat features that the Office 2019 just doesn’t have. But to me, this is all about the money. Or at least it is for the most part.
Office 365 is a subscription-based service that currently uses Office 2016 apps, but when Office 2019 is officially released, users get that as part of their subscriptions.
Office 365 is a subscription-based service, as noted. If you choose to pay on a yearly basis, you essentially get a discount that works out to two free months per year. If you choose to pay on a monthly basis you’ll pay a bit more by the end of the year, but you’ll also have the ability to back out of your subscription at the end of any month.
An Office 365 subscription ensures you’ll always have the latest version of Office. But you can pay more once and own Office 2019 forever.
Office 2019 is a buy-once app suite that brings you the Office 2019 apps as they are, without any updates to future generations of the software. If you want to upgrade to the latest version of Office without paying for a subscription, you have to pay full price for the new version — there’s no discounted upgrade option.
So what are the differences?
Think of it this way, Office 365 is a service while Office 2019 is a product. They all perform the basic Office tasks you would need, although Office 365 users get a ‘supercharged’ version of the same application with more frequent updates (monthly) and added functionality.
Microsoft releases a new version of Office every 3 years. Within those three years, there are new features being developed and Office 365 users get these features as soon as they are developed. Office 2019 users on the other hand, only get the features that are available in Office 2019 throughout. Office 2019 users still receive security updates and bug fixes.
So who are these products for?
The next logical question is, who are these products meant for? This is always going to be a subjective question depending on who you ask. In my opinion, Office 365 is meant for businesses and organizations that do a lot of work on Microsoft Office products; we’re talking about many documents, spreadsheets and so on. These companies will no doubt benefit from the most cutting edge features offered by Office 365.
Students who are only in school for 3 months at a time, a period in which they need all the Microsoft Office tools they can get, might want to go with the feature-packed subscription-based Office 365 suite. This is a lot cheaper than investing thousands of shillings on an Office Professional Plus license and end up not using the applications all that much anyway.
On the other hand, if your business doesn’t really need the best-in-class features, or if you don’t really want to be paying for Office every month, you’re much better off with Office 2019 with a one-off fee and a lifetime of service should you not choose to upgrade to the next version in three years.
Also, Office 365 keeps getting new features which means its general outlook and featureset keeps on changing. For creatures of habit, you might want to invest in the one off Office 2019 and have things look a little consistent for sometime.
So Is Microsoft 365 really that much better than Office 2019?
Again, depending on who you ask, Yes and No. For power users who need the very latest in formatting tools, Office 365 is a compelling offer. It is always updated and comes with fresh new features that such users will surely appreciate.
For the average person who produces documents occassionally, Not really. Office 2019 is already feature-packed, so much so that many people feel like it is a little too packed with features they might never use. For that reason, so many lighter alternatives are available in the market, most of them open-source because many of us don’t believe in spending that much money on a piece of software.
Are you a Microsoft Office 365 customer? What Office applications do you use in your day to day tasks? Tell us in the comments below.