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Microsoft's Office 365 launched today in downtown Toronto

Text and photos by Gadjo Cardenas Sevilla

Microsoft Canada erected a huge white dome in the middle of Yonge and Dundas Square in downtown Toronto today to serve as the Microsoft Office 365 launching pad today as it intorduced the new cloud-focused version of the world's most popular integrated software suite.

The dome for Microsoft Office was set up to demonstrate the various new features targeted to various users such as home and small businesses. The collaborative aspect of the cloud-enabled Office applications was shown off with interactions between desktops and even mobile devices such as Windows smartphones and tablets.

Microsoft Office 365 is a breakthrough in terms of software models. The suite is still comprised of Word, Excel, PowerPoint, OneNote but now adds a huge cloud component via SkyDrive and it is now sold as a monthly or yearly subscription, not as boxed software burned on DVDs.

Pricing & Subscriptions:

·         Customers can pay an upfront annual fee (CAD $99.00 or CAD $79.00 with a PC) or pay month-to-month            ($9.00 per month).

·         Office Home and Student 2013: $139

·         Office Home and Business 2013: $249

·         Office Professional 2013: $519

·         Office for Mac Home and Student 2013: $139

·         Office for Mac Home and Business 2013: $249 


This means you will no longer buy Microsoft Office discs and install them on each and every PC at home, you will purchase any of the different tiered subscriptions and access the applications from an PC simply by signing in with you password.

Below is Microsoft's explanation on the difference between Microsoft Office and Microsoft Office 365

Office is productivity software (including Word, PowerPoint, Excel, Outlook, and OneNote) that is installed on your desktop or laptop computer. Office 365 is an online subscription service that provides email, shared calendars, the ability to create and edit documents online, instant messaging, web conferencing, a public website for your business, and internal team sites—all accessible anywhere from nearly any device.

Customers with Office 2010 installed on their computer can quickly configure their software to work with Office 365. These users can easily retrieve, edit and save Office docs in the Office 365 cloud, co-author docs in real-time with others, quickly initiate PC-to-PC calls, instant messages and web conferences with others.

Office 365 is also compatible with Office 2007 and newer editions of Office and select Office 365 plans include Office Professional Plus.

The SkyDrive and cloud component of Office 365 can be accessed by Windows Phone 8 devices as well

Microsoft Office 365 is available starting today and interested users can try a demo here. Stay tuned for a comprehensive review of Office 365 running on a Windows 8 PC in the coming weeks. Is the subscription model better than the traditional buy once and own the license forever model? Can you see software as a service making an impact in your life and work?

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