Microsoft Office 2019 and Microsoft 365 – the gold standard of office products. What possibly could compete with these behemoths in the office suite space? While they are amazing product suites, they also have their challenges. Read on for our Microsoft Office predictions.
Top 5 reasons to re-evaluate Microsoft 365
Microsoft 365 is a comprehensive suite of products and provides a great amount of features and value. However the biggest downside of this over the long term is: you’ll never be free of monthly fees. Those fees go towards maintaining the products and service/support, but when your business is arbitrarily shut down, what happens to your data when you can’t pay them?
A single license of Microsoft Office 365 for Home/Business as of this writing runs about $18/month here in Canada. Over the course of a 10 year period (the traditional Office support life cycle) that works out to $2,160 per account.
Vendor lock in
The majority of the business world uses office products from Microsoft. This is a fact. Because of this, they are considered the gold standard in compatibility. However, once you move to 365 you are beholden to their terms of service and their glacial incremental innovation in the product suite.
Requires decent to good internet service
It’s 2021, but sadly enough the majority of the planet still does not have access to high speed internet services. Microsoft 365 is dependent on decent to good high speed access. Without it, and your experience will be wanting. Poor internet service will allow email services and text based collaboration, but it’s not going to be good enough for multimedia power point collaboration, Skype or teams.
Microsoft gets top marks for effort in this area, however because they are the gold standard, and because the majority of the business world uses their products, they are also among the biggest IT security targets in the world. Do you want your data stored in the cloud of the company that has the biggest bullseye painted on them? It’s like an army tank crew. Are they safe in the tank? or are they at higher risk because they are attracting more and stronger attacks? Microsoft has to be perfect when it comes to security and the malicious groups only have to get it right once.
Remember many of the complexities (and therefore costs) of the products come from the fact that they are stored online. Take a moment to consider that digital data breaches are possible for one foundational reason: the data is accessible from the internet. All the time, effort and money spent patching security vulnerabilities could be replaced simply by not storing the data online in the first place.
Is the service overkill?
Are you getting much more than you really need? There is no doubt that Microsoft 365 is a great product, but it is the Ferrari of the IT world. Are you getting the $15-$50/month value out of the product when you just need to work on your spreadsheet or write a proposal? Do you need AI to help you more quickly compose your document? New features are nice, but there hasn’t been any truly groundbreaking transformative technology in this space for years.
Reasons to reconsider Microsoft Office 2019 (stand alone office)
We like one-time fees and purchasing Office 2019 is great for those organizations just like us. We believe the upfront $300 cost for a copy of Office Home and Business is a great value considering that it was traditionally under support for 10 years. This works out to $2.50/month when compared to 365. Unfortunately, Microsoft has reduced the support period for this product to 5 + 2 years. In addition, what you end up getting is a security patched point in time version of Microsoft 365’s Office programs. If you want the latest and greatest features, you’re out of luck even if you just bought the program yesterday! No feature updates, improvements or innovation. Just bug fixes and security updates.
It’s clear that Microsoft wants everyone to move to the cloud because they’ve crippled their stand alone version and intentionally made it less competitive. In their own words, the only reason this product exists is to help commercial clients bridge the gap between traditional Office and the cloud.
The stand alone versions rightly do not feature any cloud services. This isn’t going to be a problem for folks that have their own cloud provider or hosting partner, or prefer to have on premises file and email servers. For those that are looking specifically for Microsoft cloud services, you’re going to pony up for Microsoft 365 and if you’re going to do that you’ll want to pass the stand alone versions by.
No support for previous versions of Windows
Microsoft does not support Office 2019 installed on any version of Windows prior to Windows 10 (including some early versions of Windows 10). Past versions of Office would work on previous versions of Windows, now though they’ve tightened up their requirements and will require up to date computers in order to run Office 2019. What this means is that even though from a feature standpoint Office will be out of date, they’ll require you to keep your computer up to date to run it!
No more MSI installer
The traditional Windows installer is not available for this product. It’s only offered with Microsoft’s Click-To-Run technology. This isn’t a big problem unless you have many copies to deploy.
Summary and predictions
It’s pretty clear to us that Microsoft is making a big play into the cloud with their flagship products. Is this good or bad? We believe in progress, and we think for their shareholders this is overall a good move. However, one size does not fit all.
Our first Microsoft Office Prediction is that within a few years it’s going to become increasingly difficult to use Microsoft products without a subscription.
Our second Microsoft Office Prediction is that by 2025, which is the end of support for Office 2019, the line will be drawn in the sand for most businesses. They will either be in the cloud or not. And once you’re locked in, you’ll be paying forever.
Bonus: Our third Microsoft Office Prediction is that within 1-3 years Microsoft Windows (and Microsoft 365) will be popping up and displaying advertisements. We predict that Windows will be advertisement supported.
Do you agree with our predictions? Yes or no, write a comment below! We’d love to get your feedback!