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Microsoft Office 2016 review: It's all about collaboration

Mark Hachman | Sept. 23, 2015
Go team! That's what Office 2016 is built to encourage, with new collaborative tools and other ways to tie workers and content together.

A tough call for the average user

That’s why I’m reluctant to advise you to rush out and buy Office 2016. Windows 10 offered a number of capabilities, and for free. That makes it a no-brainer. Microsoft wants you to buy Office 2016, and the company already provides a suite of free Office Mobile apps that doesn’t make that decision easy for casual users.

But the second choice Microsoft really wants you to make is to throw your cares aside and subscribe to Office 365, paying year after year after year for continual updates. From a product standpoint, it’s a tough call to justify it; Access and Publisher simply aren’t worth it, and I’m not sure I see the value in a terabyte of online OneDrive storage. The addition of Outlook makes it far more attractive.

Financially... well, Microsoft’s doing everything it can to hook you. Spending $10 per month for Office on five devices isn’t that bad of a deal. Individuals can subscribe to Office 365 Personal for 21 months before they’ve paid off the standalone version of Office, or 32 months before they’ve paid off Office 2016 Home & Business. By that time, I’d expect Office 2018 to be on the horizon.

Here’s the way I see it: Enterprises should invest in Office 2016 and Office 365; large and medium businesses should as well. Smaller businesses and home users should take careful stock of their own needs before buying Office 2016. But as to the second question: whether to invest in Office 365... I’m torn. Over time, you many in fact see the steady stream of updates and improvements that Microsoft has promised—but not now.

Buying Office 2016 means investing in collaboration, and subscribing to Office 2016 means insuring yourself for the future. If both of these appeal to you, then get out your credit cards. If not, then you might try Microsoft’s free alternative, Office Mobile.


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