SOFTWARE RENTAL OUTFIT Microsoft has launched a personal subscription service for its cloud based Microsoft Office 365 productivity suite, allowing individuals to rent the applications software for the first time.
The new Microsoft Office 365 Office Personal subscription is available for $6.99 per month or $69.99 a year for a single user license to use Microsoft's lending library of Microsoft Office applications, valid for one desktop and one tablet machine.
The new subscription will arrive later this spring and is designed to complement the rebadged Microsoft Office 365 Home option, which offers five desktop and five mobile licences for $99.
This version, previously known as Microsoft Office Home Premium, also includes 60 minutes of Skype calls per month and 20GB of Microsoft Onedrive storage space.
The announcement on the Microsoft Office blog told users, "We're committed to delivering a great [Microsoft] Office experience to all of our customers and believe that giving you a choice about the [Microsoft] Office 365 subscription that fits your unique needs is one way we can do that."
This might spark a "who shot first?" debate between Microsoft and Google, after Google announced third-party add-on support and storage price cuts for its Google Drive productivity applications and cloud storage suite, just as Microsoft has announced its Microsoft Office 365 Personal Plan and the Office Graph social and collaboration features.
Microsoft seems determined to continue to sell paid applications, in spite of the competition from Google Drive and free open source desktop office suites including Openoffice, Libreoffice and Kingston Office.
The UK government is in the process of rolling out Microsoft Office 365, however MP Francis Maude recently announced that it will look to move to open source software in the future to cut costs, an announcement that caused Microsoft to cry foul and implore him to rethink and continue to rent its products. µ