It’s here! Office 2016! The latest version of a classic Microsoft product. In the past, the release of a new version of Office would have been accompanied with trumpets! Fireworks! Parades!
But from the look of things online, it would seem that Office 2016 is no big deal. From the Office business website, you would get the impression that Office 2016 is just a feature within Office 365:
Instead of Office 2016 being displayed prominently on their website, you have to hunt down information about traditional, perpetual licenses of Office 2016. And do you want to see a feature set of the Office 2016 suites? Good luck! You’ll soon find yourself lost in a maze of hyperlinks, desperately searching for information on Office 2016 but only finding page after page devoted to Office 365. For example, there are no perpetual licenses listed in the “Office for business” category on the supposedly comprehensive products page. Instead, you get the impression that if you’re a business owner then Office 365 is your only option:
What’s going on here?
My take on the situation is that Microsoft is trying to encourage as many people as possible to break with tradition and sign up for Office 365. Consequently, they have positioned Office 365 more prominently on their website than Office 2016. Subscriptions are a more steady revenue model for them. It’s also more lucrative since many businesses in the past have just skipped versions of Office: for example, a business using Office 2007 could skip an upgrade to Office 2010 and instead wait for Office 2013. If Microsoft can get a customer like that to sign up for Office 365, then over that six-year period the customer is paying them more than if they purchased traditional licenses and skipped a version.
So Office 365 is here to stay and Microsoft is trying to convince as many people as possible to jump on board. All in all, it’s not a bad idea to jump to Office 365, but just remember that it is a trade-off. (If you’re wondering about what is best for your business, give Mirazon a call. We’ll help you weigh the options.) But if you’re not yet ready to drink the Office 365 Kool-Aid and instead want to stay with traditional licensing, you’ve come to the right place. Here’s what you need to know…
Office 2016 Licensing
First of all, is it even possible to still buy traditional licenses for Office 2016? Yes! You can still purchase permanent licenses for Office 2016 through one of Microsoft’s volume licensing programs.
What are the available suites? For a business owner, your choices are Office 2016 Standard or Office 2016 Professional Plus. You can also purchase Office 2016 for Mac Standard, if you have employees with Macs.
What are the feature sets of each version? After probing the depths of the Office.com website, I finally found a page that provides a feature comparison of the Office 2016 suites.
Office 2016 Standard gives you:
- Office Online
Office 2016 for Mac Standard gives you all of that except for Publisher.
Office 2016 Professional Plus includes everything in Office 2016 Standard, plus:
- the desktop application of Skype for Business
- a few enterprise features related to archiving, business intelligence, communication, security, and collaboration. (See the link above for more details.)
How much does Office 2016 cost? Here are the MSRP prices for licenses without Software Assurance in the Open Licensing program:
- Office 2016 Standard: $373.00
- Office 2016 for Mac Standard: $373.00
- Office 2016 Professional: $508.00
If you’re wondering about whether or not to buy Software Assurance (SA) with your new Office licenses, check out my post here. Some other Mirazon blog posts you might be interested in include my discussion about how one Office license sometimes can be used to install Office on two devices, and how to license Office in a remote desktop environment with traditional licenses or with Office 365 subscriptions. Related posts written by our engineers include how Office 2016 does not support Exchange 2007, and how to deploy Office 365/2016 in your environment.
So as Mark Twain would say, “The report of my death was an exaggeration.” Despite what you may have been lead to believe, Office 2016 is alive and well.