Microsoft released Office 365 roughly a year ago. TLC Creative Services has been using it since it released, primarily for the web-based Outlook Exchange and SharePoint.

Office 365 has different plan levels. All plans include Email (Exchange Online – with 25GB mail boxes), SharePoint and Lync. “Higher” level plans include a subscription to Microsoft Office. And interestingly, not all plans include Microsoft’s free Web Apps, which are online versions of PowerPoint, Word and Excel (it is a collection of free apps, so I cannot see a reason they are not offered with all plans…). Microsoft has recently integrated Skype calling minutes into Office365 subscriptions, and promise more web services in the future.

The advantage of using the subscription service over the disc/serial number is that you will always be using the latest version. Offers the Office 2010 programs. It also includes online storage, sharing and syncing to web-based “cloud” access. The cloud services make it easy to save and access all of your documents from any device. And Office is available on multiple devices and platforms: PCs and Macs, phones-tablets-computers.

So, which Microsoft Office install option is better for you – subscription or disc? If you have a lot of users to manage, the subscription plans make it much easier from an IT perspective to assure everyone has a working version of Office. If you have an MSDN account, keep the same install for multiple years, or very few computers to manage, purchasing a serial number/disc may be the better option.

But with either option, I definitely recommend Office 365 for its Outlook, SharePoint and Lync options.

– Troy @ TLC