Office is more of a compatibility necessity for the business world than it is a world class suite of useful tools that users, well, truly, madly, deeply, want to use. Hold onto your hats, folks. That has changed. Microsoft’s got a new sheriff and and he’s shaking up the crowd at the developer saloon.
Office, By The Month
Microsoft’s new CEO, Satya Nadella, doesn’t seem like a desperate man, but he’s done something in his short tenure as Microsoft’s chief honcho that couldn’t be done by anyone at the Windows maker in the past 15 years. Microsoft’s applications are pretty good. For Mac users, that means the newest Office for 2016 has most of the bells and whistles of the Windows version, but it looks better and works better.
Even better than that, there are highly competent versions of Word, Excel, PowerPoint, Outlook, and OneNote for iPad and iPhone, and they all sync files and play nice-nice thanks to OneDrive cloud storage. Oh, did I neglect to mention that they’re free? My bad. Well, the iPad Pro version isn’t so free but I
am forced to use Office 365 so it comes along as part of the package.
Office for Mac is not free, of course, and pricing has undergone a revolution of sorts. Office can be a rental, a subscription, whereby you pay by the month or the year, but pay forever and ever if you want to use the Office suite of apps.
Here’s the deal. Office for iOS is pretty good. It’s still Word, Excel, PowerPoint, and Outlook, but updates are frequent and incremental improvements are the order of the day. I’m especially taken with how well Outlook works on my iPad Pro.
Nadella’s mandate was simple.
Make software that people want to use.
That charge seems to have inspired Microsoft’s app developers and they’re on a roll. If you have yet to try the new Office for Mac, download it and use it awhile. It’s free for now, and once it hits general release, you can pay for it by the month or year. Forever.
Alright, I’m anathema to the monthly subscription model, thanks to Adobe’s heavy handed monthly dues for Creative Suite, but I’m less inclined to be religious in my hatred of Microsoft and subscriptions if the software is worthy. It is. Office for Mac is very, well, for lack of a better phrase, very Mac-like.
Microsoft’s packaging is new era, too. Rent Office for Mac and get up to a terabyte of online storage. Updates are free for subscribers. Forever. So is tech support. There’s much to like here, folks.
My favorites are Outlook and OneNote; Excel, Word, PowerPoint are still overkill for most of us including longtime users, but there’s that business compatibility thing still going on. I could use Outlook to replace Apple’s somewhat anemic and crash-happy Mail and not lose any sleep. All I can say is, “Try it. You might like it.” If you don’t try it, you won’t know what you’re missing. I still hate the monthly subscription fee, but for a single user who actually uses Office every day of the week, it’s a nominal business expense with plenty of useful extras.
This subscription model seems to have some legs, even at Apple. Now we have Apple Music. Need more storage? iCloud has more but for a monthly price. Yes, I don’t like it, either, but for some applications and suites of apps, that’s the trend and there’s no going back.