01 Mar 2013
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Microsoft's pushing Office subscriptions, but why?

Cost-cutting customers are threatening Microsoft's licensing revenue as the company continues to push a "rent-not-own" Office 365.

That is the warning coming from consulting firm Pica Communications, who believe customers are sticking with their perpetual licenses despite Microsoft's new releases.

This is especially evident in business, with companies commonly skipping Office's typical three-year cycles while migrating systems.

It can take years to roll out an edition hence Microsoft's preferred method of 'trapping' (used very loosely) customers in yearly subscriptions.

The fear of losing Office altogether acts as the perfect deterrent from breaking the contract and taking up the previous perpetual license.

"The annual subscription severely disadvantages those on limited income which a very large percentage of the users," says Microsoft customer Ross Muir speaking to Techday.

"I can see few bothering to upgrade, sticking with the older version, which lasts as long as the PC on which it is installed, and probably the replacement when the first one dies as well.

"Greed trumps customer goodwill. Alternative programmes will grow in popularity."

The software firm says the release is a reinvention of the company’s flagship Office product line for consumers.

And not everybody agrees subscription is the devil. After months of previews and development, Office's variety of editions have certainly taken the fancy of some.

"Its cheaper per year than buying up front," Timbo told Techday. "You always get the latest version and get more value for your money.

"And I disagree a majority of users are on limited income."

Always having the latest Office edition is the stick Microsoft hopes will lure customers into penning long-term financial agreements with the company, but will it work and is it the right way forward for you? Tell us your thoughts below

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