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Who Needs It?

Who Needs It?
by Gary Woods

I've been thinking a lot lately about Microsoft Office. I've been using Office 2010 for quite a while and I really like it. But, if I wanted to upgrade there are currently two iterations of Office which Microsoft is marketing called Office 2013 and Office 365 Home Premium. The 2013 version sells from $139.99 for the Home & Student version to $399.99 for the Professional version. The catch is that you can only install 2013 on one computer. Then, there is Office 365 which sells for $99.99 per year and can be used on 5 PCs and Macs. Since I've got 5 computers running Office 2010 I would have to pay $1,999.95 for 2013 Premium or $99.99 per year for 365. Hmmm, it kind of feels like Microsoft wants me to go down the 365 road.

But, then I started thinking. Office is great and has definitely been and industry standard for years but there are a lot of free or cheap alternatives. Google Docs comes to mind as a free alternative. You can create documents that can be read in Word, spreadsheets that can be opened in Excel and slide shows which can be displayed in PowerPoint.

Or, if you don't want to work entirely in the cloud on the Mac there is the iWork suite of Pages, Numbers and Keynote which sells for $59.97 and you can save those files as Word, Excel and PowerPoint files.

Lately I've been doing most of my work on the iPad so I was intrigued when Microsoft came up with Office 365 for the iPhone. The App is free but you have to have that $99.99 per year subscription to use it. Okay, now I'm ticked. First they only make Office 365 for the iPhone not the iPad and then I have to pay $99.99 per year for the privilege. With the iWork Apps for the iPad coming in at $9.99 each or $29.97 for the suite I think I'll forego Office 365. Which brings me back to where we started, Microsoft Office Who Needs It??

If you have any suggestions or questions for me please drop me a note at or see my column on the Internet at or call me at (805) 729-0910

Gary Woods is the Computer Trainer for the Santa Barbara Association of Realtors. And he is a Broker/Associate at Home Realty & Investments, Inc