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Office 365 and Office 2016 – what’s the difference?


Disclaimer: This blog was written in 2015, a few months before the release of Office 2016.

We’ve since returned to the topic with a more in-depth comparison written for a 2017 audience: What’s the difference between Office 2016 and Office 365? [Updated]

Microsoft have already announced that their latest productivity software for Windows, Office 2016, will be released towards the end of this year. We are very excited about the opportunities that this software will afford our clients, and you can discover all of these new features in our recent blog, ‘Microsoft Office 2016 – On the Horizon’. However, since 2011, Microsoft have been simultaneously releasing productivity software, designed to optimise the experience for different users.

Recommended reading: Office 365 migration checklist

Firstly, let’s break down the differences between Office 2016 and Office 365. Office 2016 is the successor of Office 2013, which in turn was the successor of Office 2010. In fact, Office 2016 is the seventeenth version of their applications software that Microsoft have released. For all sixteen versions of Microsoft Office, and for the 2016 edition as well, users pay a one-time fee which gives them ownership rights of the software. Purchasing this software allows you to install it on your computer only.

Office 365 is a more recent addition. Whereas an Office 2013 subscription entitles you to one installation, an Office 365 subscription gives you installation rights on up to five PCs or Macs. Office 365 will also automatically install software version updates, removing the cost and hassle of licensing updates. Further to this, you are not bound to Office 365 in the same way that you would be when you buy Office 2013 outright. Instead of paying for the software permanently, you purchase monthly or annual subscriptions, meaning that you are essentially hiring the software.

Office 365 is Microsoft’s response to the advent of Cloud storage; all emails are stored in the cloud, protecting your business from data loss in the case of events which are out of your control. Because of this, you don’t need an on premise server, which further reduces the risks attached to most businesses IT environments. In addition, the mailbox storage in Outlook has been increased to 50GB, meaning that you never have to worry about de-cluttering or deleting items in your inbox.

Further to this, all elements of Outlook are now better synced across all devices, allowing you to access Office 365 from any PC, iPad or phone that you have installed the software on. Better still, Microsoft have updated their security measures in line with their improved syncing, meaning that should you lose any device, all of its data can be remotely wiped, whilst maintaining it on all of your other devices.

Sharepoint, Skype for Business and OneDrive for Business are all available in Office 365 to improve the productivity of your business, and the ‘rental’ payment process associated with all of these features means that you can add or decrease the number of users according to your business needs, ensuring that you optimise your experience of Office 365.

Want to get started with Office 365? We’ve written a free checklist to help.

Free checklist: Planning a successful Office 365 migration

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