Modern Microsoft is taking quite a few steps in interesting new directions. On a consumer side of things, making Windows 10 a free upgrade drew a lot of media attention (in addition to the more recent realization that Windows 10 can and will try to force you to go through with the update, no matter who you are and what you’re doing). Microsoft’s real bread and butter, however, has always been in enterprise software, and that’s where we come to Office 365.
What is Office 365?
Office 365 gains its name from the number of days in a year. To go with this naming scheme, it’s actually an annual subscription: this subscription offers access to all Microsoft Office applications, including Word, PowerPoint and other key apps for homes and businesses. The subscription also adds other services, like Skype for Business.
Additionally, Office 365 is a cloud-based solution. Cloud computing deals with storaage and computing tasks being done on an external server, or array of servers. This means that you use Office 365 on your pre-existing computer, without the need to grab any installation discs.
How does it differ from Microsoft Office?
From this, you might gather that Office 365 is basically just a modernized Microsoft Office. In many ways, it is, since it’s just subscription-based and cloud-based Office applications. A key way it differs, however, is by adding extras and bundling Office within it.
This is where the benefit of Office 365 comes in. Businesses using 365 don’t have to worry about updating Microsoft Office a few years down the line, since their subscription will always keep them on the latest, greatest version of Microsoft’s Office applications.
That being said, you do have some alternatives for cloud/subscription-based office solutions. Google Apps can be used as a cloud-based alternative to traditional solutions, and if you’re just an individual user that doesn’t need business features, you can just use Google Docs or Microsoft Word online for free.