Until now, we've known almost all there is to know about Microsoft Office 2013 and Office 365: we got hands-on with the new features last summer, and the company has even confirmed pricing. The only thing we weren't sure of was the exact on-sale date, but even that got leaked when a Canadian retailer put up a pre-order page indicating the two products would ship January 29th. Well, what do you know? Today is January 29th and sure enough, Office 2013 is on sale, along with the subscription service Office 365. To be clear, while every version of the boxed software is now out, 365 is only being offered to consumers; the business version will arrive later, on February 27th.
For now, Office 365 Home Premium is priced at $99.99 for an annual subscription, with permission to install the suite on up to five PCs and Macs. There's also a "University" version for college students and faculty, which costs $79.99 for a four-year plan. Either way, the sub includes 20GB of SkyDrive storage on top of whatever plan you already have
which is to say if you previously only had 7GB of space, your limit will now get bumped to 20 gigs. (In other words, people grandfathered into 25GB don't get an additional 20 gigabytes.). Of course, you can always deactivate a particular machine through Office.com if you need to free up a license. Naturally, too, as a part of the subscription you'll always have the most recent version. That means Office 2013 for Windows users; Office for Mac 2011 if you're on OS X. That last piece is a bit of a bummer, for sure, but for what it's worth Microsoft has said a new Mac product is in the works, and that subscribers will get it as part of a future software update.
If you'd rather buy the software outright, you can do that today too. At the low end, there's Office 2013 Home and Student 2013 ($139), which comes with Word, Excel, PowerPoint and OneNote. Home and Business adds Outlook for $219, while the top-of-the-line Professional package includes all of the above along with Access and Publisher for $399. Remember, though: these come with only one user license, and you don't get any complimentary cloud storage or upgrades to future versions. It's your money, obviously, but it seems clear to us that Microsoft has gone out of its way to make its Office 365 service the more attractive option. So, you might want to think long and hard about how much owning your software really means to you before going the old-fashioned route.
Update: An Office 365 subscription includes 20GB of SkyDrive storage in addition to whatever plan you already have. So, if you were grandfathered into 25 gigs of storage, you'll end up with 45GB in total.