Microsoft competes against self by discrediting legacy productivity suite, promoting cloud-connected Office 365
Microsoft isn’t a stranger to competitors poking at its products’ quality, functionality, and value. What’s unusual, though, is Microsoft being the one trash-talking its own product, the forthcoming Office 2019.
The Lowdown: In a series of promotional videos, Microsoft derides its own productive software, which still dominates the business and consumer desktop landscape, while simultaneously promoting Office 365, the cloud-connected version of the same package. The intent is to drive more customers toward the subscription-based package and away from the legacy perpetual license.
The Details: Microsoft continues to add features to the Office 365 subscription package, offering businesses and consumers multiple licenses, cloud-based resources, and artificial intelligence capabilities. Over the past five years, Microsoft and its partners have pushed customers to adopt Office 365. For $100 per user per year for Office 365
In its launch announcement, Microsoft said Office 2019 is a one-time product release and will not receive updates or feature additions that Office 365 subscribers will receive periodically.
The Impact: Microsoft is unabashed in telling users that it wants them to buy Office 365. The subscription sales model is far more lucrative for the vendor and its partners. Since pushing its cloud products, including Office 365, Microsoft’s revenue and market cap have soared. The Office 2019 campaign could compel laggards to adopt the subscription service, opening new opportunities for Microsoft and its partners.
Background: Microsoft announced the development of Office 2019 nearly two years ago, calling it a version of the productivity suite for users that weren’t ready to move to cloud-connected services. Microsoft promised Office 2019 wouldn’t be the last perpetual license version of the product line. However, Microsoft is making its intentions clear to emphasize the subscription model while de-valuing the legacy version.
The Buzz: “Office 365 includes fully installed Office applications — the latest versions of Word, Excel, PowerPoint, and Outlook. But those apps keep getting better over time, with new capabilities delivered every month. Most importantly, Office 365 is connected to the cloud, so you can access your content from any device, co-author with anyone in real-time (regardless of whether or not they’ve purchased a copy of Office), and use the power of artificial intelligence (AI) to create impactful content with less effort,” said Jared Spataro, Microsoft’s corporate vice president of Microsoft 365. “On the flip side, Office 2019 also delivers full installs of the Office apps we know and love — but they’re ‘frozen in time.’ They don’t ever get updated with new features, and they’re not cloud-connected. Also, Office 2019 doesn’t support real-time co-authoring across apps, and it doesn’t have the amazing AI-powered capabilities that come with Office 365.”