While Windows is by far Microsoft’s top consumer product in terms of marketing and general market awareness, it’s not my favorite Microsoft product. That title goes to Microsoft 365 (formerly Office 365), the company’s cloud-powered subscription service that gives you access to Office apps and more for a recurring cost.
I’ve been a Microsoft 365 Family subscriber for a few years now and this is probably the only Microsoft product I haven’t regretted buying so far. There are multiple reasons for this and I’ll go over a few of them in this piece today so that readers who are on the fence will have an easier time deciding whether or not Microsoft 365 is worth their money.
For starters, Microsoft 365 gives you the latest version of Office applications like Word, PowerPoint, Excel, OneNote and more at all times. You don’t have to worry about updates at all, they are handled directly by the tech giant Redmond and the update process is seamless too. This is in stark contrast to one-time Office purchases like Office 2021 where you only get the version you paid for along with some security updates, but no feature updates.
Speaking of feature updates, these are regularly published to Microsoft 365. If you’ve been actively reading Neowin, you’ve probably seen our monthly roundup articles about the latest capabilities added to Office applications. Some of the new functionality is really useful for me and I believe that there is almost always something of interest to someone given that the updates are plentiful. It even includes cloud-based capabilities not present in offline or LTSC versions of Office.
It’s also worth mentioning that I haven’t experienced any major bugs in Office apps yet. This is relative to other Microsoft software I use such as Windows, Edge, Teams, Power BI Desktop, Visual Studio, etc. I’m not saying that these programs are bug-free, nor am I saying that Office applications are completely bug-free. What I’m stressing is that bugs are rarer for me in Office apps compared to other Microsoft software, which makes for a better experience overall.
Another benefit I like with my Microsoft 365 subscription is the integration of OneDrive cloud storage. If you purchase a family plan, you can share your subscription between six people and each of them gets 1TB of OneDrive storage. For me, this is quite a storage volume and it means that I can save all my important files such as photos, videos, documents and more in the cloud without thinking twice. I’m not close to worrying about running out of storage even though I use it comfortably. It’s also important to mention that OneDrive competes with Dropbox, Google One, and other cloud storage programs, but the fact that it’s bundled with Microsoft 365 means it’s not a direct competitor to any of them. Personally, it gives me the best bang for the buck because I’m also an active user of Office apps.
It also leads to the biggest advantage of the Microsoft 365 family plan itself, which is the ability to share your subscription with other people. This results in a lower cost per person and each person in my plan pays me their share directly at the end of each billing period, which means I only have to pay for my share of the plan.
Finally, and some people may disagree with me here, I prefer a recurring subscription model for Microsoft 365 rather than a one-time payment with an Office LTSC license. This not only means that I get regular updates but also that I have to pay a relatively low cost at the beginning of the billing period and then not give it a second thought for up to another year (I use the annual billing option).
An excellent initiative that Microsoft has taken in this regard is that the cost of Microsoft 365 in my country, Pakistan, is apparently relative to the purchasing power and economy not so good. For example, Microsoft 365 Family costs $99.99 per year in the US, which translates to PKR 23,000 per year at today’s exchange rates, but Microsoft charges me PKR 15,000 per year. This is a massive reduction and makes it easier for me to continue to afford Microsoft 365 every year. I’m a fan of companies doing regional pricing; some of our avid readers may remember me breaking the story of how Valve did the same for Steam five years ago. The move seems to have been very successful and popular, which is why it’s still active.
I hope Microsoft continues to improve Microsoft 365, but I’m an absolute fan of the work it’s done on the software so far, along with all the benefits it brings like cloud storage, cloud-based capabilities, regular feature updates, and the cost-effectiveness of the subscription plans.
You may have noticed that while I said that Microsoft 365 is my favorite Microsoft product and compared it a bit to other software I’ve used, I didn’t compare it against a hardware category. That’s because I don’t believe Microsoft’s Surface line offers me the best value, HoloLens really isn’t for consumers, I don’t have much time for games so Xbox and Game Pass are out of the equation for now, and Windows Phone is dead. Microsoft 365 is the clear winner for me and I don’t think any other product is even close.
Do you use Microsoft 365? Do you like it? What is your favorite Microsoft 365 product? Let us know in the comments section below!