Microsoft Office Pro Plus or Office Pro Plus for O365?

By Joshua Osborne

Director of Client Services - Microsoft, NPI

October 23, 2015

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Artwork Courtesy of @iStock.com/vadimguzhva

One question we find ourselves answering often these days is “what is the difference between regular Office Professional Plus and Office Professional Plus for O365 (Office 365)?”

On the surface both products sound very similar, and from a functional perspective that is true. The difference boils down to this:

Office Professional Plus is the perpetual licensed product where you own a license to the product outright and install it locally on one machine. It is licensed by device, which means you must own a license for every device that runs Office or accesses it remotely. There is an option to purchase Software Assurance along with it, which grants you additional benefits – most notably new version rights, remote access and home use rights.

Office Professional Plus for O365 is a subscription license, and you pay by the user. You will never own a license to the product or service outright. Microsoft will make incremental updates to the product and Software Assurance is included. Since it’s licensed by user, you are granted up to 15 installations (5 PC, 5 tablet and 5 phone).

Microsoft’s strategy and corporate direction is all centered around cloud computing, so you’ll probably feel more pressure from your account team to move to Office for O365. But, that doesn’t mean it’s the best option for your business. Depending on your usage, security policies, device management and other factors, one of the two options may make more sense for a particular user or device, user or device group or the entire company.

In order to achieve the optimal balance of cost, flexibility and functionality, it’s important to map the usage requirements across your business, along with infrastructure factors that have licensing implications, against the numerous licensing and subscription options (and combinations) that Microsoft offers. If you don’t have a PhD in Microsoft licensing, that can be tough to do on your own.