Let me start with a story. At the end of last year Walmart.com.br kicked off its Black Friday deals. I went through the discounted products and found a gem. Office Home & Student 2010, priced at 45 Brazilian Reais (BRL) instead of its regular 199 BRL price tag, valid for three PCs. It also came with an offer to upgrade to the next version, whose launch was right around the corner. To get that free upgrade I had to register my e-mail at http://office.microsoft.com/en-us/offer/.
Microsoft launched Office 2013 as a subscription service called Office 365 Home Premium and also a normally priced Office Home and Student 2013. The offer I signed up for came with a raw deal. I could either update to the subscription version and still keep using the earlier version, or upgrade to the non-subscription version valid for only one PC and never go back. Guess which I chose? It was a no brainer to go with the subscription version. So now when I read that Office 365 is a tremendous success, I silently wonder if that success isn’t based on coercing users to upgrade to a version of Office they wouldn’t have chosen.
Office 365 has now arrived on the iPhone. I do own all the apps in the iWork suite, so I won’t probably use it to create content. Viewing content created by others is a different matter. No Office substitute I have used on iOS provides seamless compatibility. I am hoping Office 365 will be different. Will I renew my Office 365 subscription next year? That’s a $99 question I’ll need to answer as and when it arises. At $29 a year, I might consider it a strong possibility.