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Microsoft’s latest version of Office is here, it’s in the cloud, and it costs $100 per year for 5 computers

office2013 [1]

Microsoft has announced that Office 2013 and Office 365 are now available for purchase on Office.com and in retail stores across 162 countries. When you purchase your copy and unbox it at home, don’t be surprised if you don’t find the usual DVD inside it. It was never there, and the product key provided will take you where Microsoft wants you to be — the cloud.

Office Home & Student 2013 are available for $139.99 and Office Professional 2013 will cost you $399.99. These are your traditional Office products that you download and install on your computer; once installed, they aren’t in the cloud but rather on your computer and you can keep these versions forever with no reoccurring fee.

Office 365 is Microsoft’s cloud version. A 1 year subscription of Office 365, that allows you to put Office 2013 on up to 5 PCs and/or Macs and gives access to Word, Excel, PowerPoint, OneNote, Outlook, Publisher and Access, costs $99.99. What about one month? $9.99. It’s clear that Microsoft is trying to show consumers that paying for a subscription to Office and downloading it is the way to go this time.

Part of Office 365 is also an all-new on-demand version of Office 2013 that is available on Office.com. You simply sign in and you’ll have a streaming version of Office 2013 on your Windows 7 or Windows 8 computer in no time. When you don’t have a particular program from Office installed on your computer, you can stream it. If you’re on a computer that doesn’t even have Office installed on it yet, just stream it. It isn’t entirely clear if an Office 365 subscription allows you to install an offline version of Office 2013 or not.

Microsoft is also leveraging its other services to complement Office 365. A subscription to Office 365 will also get you 20GB of additional storage on SkyDrive and 60 minutes of Skype calls per month. If you have a Windows Phone, you’ll be able to view and edit all your Word, Excel, PowerPoint and OneNote documents right from your phone and access them anywhere with SkyDrive.

Here’s a quick look at the new Office:

Microsoft is trying something new here, just like they did with Windows 8. What’s great about this effort is, you’re not really forced to be in the cloud if you don’t want to. The standalone versions are still available for purchase, albeit in comparatively higher prices. But the choice is yours this time around.

[via The Verge [2], Office.com [3]]