Microsoft launched a new ad campaign for its Office suite today. It is usually nothing particularly interesting, but it is a little different. Instead of just highlighting the features of Word and Excel, Microsoft decided to place Office 365 and Office 2019 against each other (as an extra gimmick, it used twins too). But here's the deal: Microsoft really doesn't want you to buy Office 2019, and the ads make it clear.
The reason for this is obvious: Office 365 is a subscription product while Office 2019 (think Office Home & Student or other SKUs) comes with an eternal license, so it's a one-time sale to Microsoft. Subscriptions are a better business for Microsoft in the long run (hence its latest focus on products like Microsoft 365).
Long ago, the annual non-365 Office release was simply a snapshot of the state of Office apps at any given time. It changed with Office 365. Now Office 365 users are the ones who get all the online features, including a lot of AI powered tools, while the Office 2019 versions don't get any of them.
Office 365 subscriptions start at $ 70 for personal use and $ 8.25 / month for business users. Office Home and Business is a one-time $ 250 lump sum.
Surprisingly, in the new ads that give
actors twins face different challenges in Word, Excel and PowerPoint, Office 365 beats Office 2019 every time. Yawn. The ads are not very good and you will ring a couple of times (but unfortunately they are no rival to Microsoft's worst commercial ever, 2009's Songsmith debacle), but you will surely get away with the feeling that Microsoft really is want you to subscribe to Office 365 and not buy a persistent Office 2019 license and then maybe purchase the next update in 2025.