she said … he heard an office tale.

I want to give 50 euros a year to Microsoft until I die.

I after taking a few minutes to parse the sentence I believe that it actually sounded more like.

All of my friends are using Microsoft 360 and I use it at work.  It seems pretty good, I would like to use for my personal computer.

I am guessing that this is exactly the kind of thing that Microsoft has been dreaming of.  A nice stable income from people who are tired of getting software installed and keeping it constantly patched on their computer.

I didn’t really need to think much to come up with my personal answer on this topic.  Purchase the software … or at least a software license and install it on the computer.  The upfront costs are a bit more but it amortizes nicely over time.  This is probably more true now than when windows was still fighting with OS/2 for desktop supremacy.

The desktops and laptops today are considerably more powerful now than back in the day, yet for most business tasks the business case for getting a new computer each year would be a pretty difficult sell.  My machine has a quad core with eight threads (thanks hyper-threading), just like the prior few years.

This isn’t to say that the new CPU’s don’t bring a lot to the table but what it brings may be more useful for visualization or energy consumption.

The same is true for some of the software sold today.  Each version has more features than the previous but unless you are doing a lot collaboration you might only see that the menus or ribbons have changed.


The table actually doesn’t fully encompass all of the options.  Microsoft actually has a number of different plans for consumers and business.  They also have a number of large business and enterprise pricing plans as well.

Sofware / Plan Cost online storage
Google Apps
For work
40 Euro per year 30 GB storage
Google Apps
120 Euro per year 1 TB storage
Office 365
99.99 Euro per year 1 TB storage
Office 365
69.99 Euro per year 1 TB storage

This may be cheaper than to purchase the software outright – almost.  The good news of having a software service like this is that you don’t need to deal with the hardware (disk storage) getting full or breaking down.  The software should always be patched to the most current level.  Both Microsoft and Google are providing this intangible but very important benefit.

My wife actually doesn’t have any of those worries. She has outsourced them to  me (along with installing windows patches and taking out the garbage).

Purchasing the software outright isn’t necessarily much cheaper, it really depends on your time horizon.  If you really have to use the most cutting edge version of the software you will getting approximately every two years.

Sofware Cost online storage
Office 2013 129.99 Euro  N/A

If you can live with the functionality for perhaps the life of your personal computer then the timeline might be four or five years.  This would have a cost of approximately 25 Euros per year.  If you are like one person I heard of, you would have just upgraded from Office 97 which yields the staggeringly tiny number of eight Euros per year.

The back of the envelope numbers seem to suggest purchasing the software would be the most cost effective way to proceed.  I did consider another metric for pricing.  Her original question was not “how can I subsidize my company by purchasing my own software” but what software should she purchase for her home computer.

Well, she doesn’t write novels and presumably her work reports and presentations would be done at work.  Sending letters through the post is almost unheard of, so that means she is probably looking to do the occasional report or presentation at home.  Perhaps, depending on which statistics you believe, she will also be using this to update her resume.

What this might mean is that she would be working at home on perhaps  perhaps five reports a year and a resume every three years.  It might be even cheaper to use either Google Apps or Office 365 but sign up for a single month when you really needed it.

There is one more solution that beats all the others hands down.

Sofware Cost online storage
Free N/A
LibreOffice Free N/A

LibreOffice is a fork from the original OpenOffice that was previously owned by Oracle. The Apache is now the maintainer of the OpenOffice suite.  Oracle decided that the OpenOffice product would be better managed by another organization with a non-commercial focus and so set OpenOffice free.

“Given the breadth of interest in free personal productivity applications and the rapid evolution of personal computing technologies, we believe the project would be best managed by an organization focused on serving that broad constituency on a non-commercial basis,” said Oracle Chief Architect Edward Screven in a statement.

Both of these open source office package really provide value other than costing anything.  They are full office suites that can do word processing, spreadsheet and presentations.  They are not only just as powerful as the market leader, well almost, but it is possible to give a copy to your friend or coworker without going to jail.

They are more traditional software packages, that are installed on your personal computer but can be used with other popular solutions such as dropbox, onedrive or google drive if you need access from anywhere.


Get the solution that you are most comfortable with.  Open source office software is more than adequate for a lot of situations, however, don’t overlook simply purchasing Microsoft office.  Buying and using  Microsoft office for 3 or more years gives 100% compatibility without succumbing to the upgrade treadmill.

Once you are ready to move on you might* be able to offer the still working software to someone who might want it.

*Depending on the license that came with the software.

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