Microsoft dismisses Office 2019 as old and dumb, promotes Office 365 subscriptions

Of course Microsoft would rather you pay them regularly for Office, just as you would for any other household utility

Credit: Dreamstime

When Microsoft announced the standalone versions of Office last year, known as Office 2019, the vendor’s attitude seemed decidedly lukewarm. We were wrong: Now it’s downright hostile.

Microsoft has released three videos to try and demonstrate that the AI-powered, always-updated version of Office 365 trounces the standalone Office 2019 in tasks ranging from automatically filling in geographic data in an Excel spreadsheet to automatically adding relevant skills to a Word resume that can be then sent to a recruiter.

In each of the “showdowns,” Office 2019 forces the user to perform the tasks manually, while Office 365 either automatically performs the task or connects to the Internet to simplify it.

According to Jared Spataro, corporate vice president for Microsoft 365, Office 2019 is “frozen in time:” “They [the Office 2019 apps] don’t ever get updated with new features, and they’re not cloud-connected,” Spataro wrote.

“Also, Office 2019 doesn’t support real-time coauthoring across apps, and it doesn’t have the amazing AI-powered capabilities that come with Office 365.”

Microsoft has been busy adding intelligence to Office, with innovations like smarter search and Ideas being added to simplify Office’s deep feature set, to video transcription, to the Resume Assistant feature being shown off within the Word video.


The message, so far, has been relatively understated: Office 365 enables these features, while Office 2019 does not. Now that positioning has become much more explicit.

Office 2019 - with what Microsoft calls a “perpetual license”—is US$149.99 for Office Home & Student 2019, which includes Word, Excel, and PowerPoint for a single PC.

The Office 365 equivalent—Office 365 Personal, which includes Word, Excel, PowerPoint, Outlook, Publisher, Access, plus OneDrive and Skype—costs US$69.99, though you’ll have to renew every year to edit your documents and gain new features.

Microsoft has historically encouraged users and businesses alike to budget for the ongoing costs of an Office subscription, just as you would for water and power utilities or property taxes.

What this means to users: For years, users questioned the value of upgrading to new versions of the standalone Office suite—a spell-checker was a spell-checker, after all.

Microsoft would like you to accept that a connected Office suite provides not only up-to-the-minute access to a dynamic world of data, but also new services that you might not even imagine.

What’s interesting is that Microsoft now rather baldly considers its past versions of Office to be the competition: “Heads Up: Why Microsoft Doesn’t Want Consumers to Buy Office 2019” was the subject of a Microsoft email announcing the new strategy.

Join the newsletter!

Or

Sign up to gain exclusive access to email subscriptions, event invitations, competitions, giveaways, and much more.

Membership is free, and your security and privacy remain protected. View our privacy policy before signing up.

Error: Please check your email address.

Tags MicrosoftOffice 365

Keep up with the latest tech news, reviews and previews by subscribing to the Good Gear Guide newsletter.
Mark Hachman

Mark Hachman

PC World (US online)
Show Comments

Most Popular Reviews

Latest Articles

Resources

PCW Evaluation Team

Jack Jeffries

MSI GS75

As the Maserati or BMW of laptops, it would fit perfectly in the hands of a professional needing firepower under the hood, sophistication and class on the surface, and gaming prowess (sports mode if you will) in between.

Taylor Carr

MSI PS63

The MSI PS63 is an amazing laptop and I would definitely consider buying one in the future.

Christopher Low

Brother RJ-4230B

This small mobile printer is exactly what I need for invoicing and other jobs such as sending fellow tradesman details or step-by-step instructions that I can easily print off from my phone or the Web.

Aysha Strobbe

Microsoft Office 365/HP Spectre x360

Microsoft Office continues to make a student’s life that little bit easier by offering reliable, easy to use, time-saving functionality, while continuing to develop new features that further enhance what is already a formidable collection of applications

Michael Hargreaves

Microsoft Office 365/Dell XPS 15 2-in-1

I’d recommend a Dell XPS 15 2-in-1 and the new Windows 10 to anyone who needs to get serious work done (before you kick back on your couch with your favourite Netflix show.)

Maryellen Rose George

Brother PT-P750W

It’s useful for office tasks as well as pragmatic labelling of equipment and storage – just don’t get too excited and label everything in sight!

Featured Content

Don’t have an account? Sign up here

Don't have an account? Sign up now

Forgot password?