back to article Microsoft: You want Office for Mac, fanboi? You'll pay Windows prices

Microsoft has increased the price of Office for Mac by up to 17 per cent, another move in the software giant's territory battle with Apple in the personal computing market. The new pricing structure, which was not officially announced by Redmond, asks Mac users to hand over around the same amount as users of Office 2013 for …


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  1. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    Wonder if Open or Libre Office can be compiled for the Mac?

    1. Silverburn

      Open office is already I believe.

      Though it would not surprise me that most mac users use iworks, just because a) it works and b) is a fraction of the price of MS office. Thought I can't say I'm a fan (especially given the stupidly restrictive cloud requirements).

      1. Anonymous Coward
        Anonymous Coward

        Thanks :)

        Well looks like LO will be getting a few more downloads thanks to MS's promotional skills :)

        1. Test Man

          That would only apply if people were happy to pay the original price. Somehow I doubt that there were many fence-sitting people at the old price that subsequently decided to get the likes of LibreOffice just because of the $20 hike.

          In other words, $20 isn't going to sway anyone - you either were going to buy it anyway and still are, or you were never going to buy it and still aren't.

          1. Captain Underpants

            @Test Man

            I disagree, because there's something important the article misses out: Previously, Office 2011 Home And Student could be had in a retail box 3-licence, 3-machine pack for ~$140/£100. These licences involve activation, as I understand it, but should still work because each pack comes with 3 keys, and each key allows for installation on one desktop and one laptop as long as there is no concurrent use. There was a similar setup with 2 licences for the Home & Business edition, which is required if the software is being used for non-personal (ie commercial) purposes.

            For home users, you could previously get up to 6 machines set up for the same price that Microsoft will now charge for 1 machine, and if they follow the logic they're imposing with Office 2013, those will be node-locked licences too.

            I figure people who realise what's going on and belatedly realise they need Office 2011 as there won't be an Office 2014 will first look in the retail channel to try and find the 3-licence box sets, and then consider whether the software's really worth the money without first at least evaluating LibreOffice or whatever other alternatives they want to try out.

            It's not a smart move IMO, and speaks volumes as to how much faith MS actually have in Office 365 as a compelling proposition in its own right - if they're having to hobble their own competing products to make it seem an attractive proposition, that's a bad sign.

      2. Jim in Hayward

        NeoOffice is OO for Mac OSX

    2. hplasm

      Libre Office

      Can be easily downloaded for the Mac- no messing.

      1. Wensleydale Cheese

        Re: Libre Office

        "Can be easily downloaded for the Mac- no messing."

        I've been using it on Mac, Linux and Windows systems for a good while now.

        On the Mac I find iWork and Libre Office complementary. I use each for the purposes they are best for.

    3. jonathanb Silver badge

      You have been able to download Mac versions of both of those for a very long time. You can also get Neo Office if you want a more native port, but the advantages of that over Libre Office are not as great as they used to be.

      1. This post has been deleted by its author

    4. JDX Gold badge

      >>Wonder if Open or Libre Office can be compiled for the Mac?

      Hang on, that was a serious question rather than snide sarcasm?!

    5. Longrod_von_Hugendong

      Libre office for Mac...

      is great, i bought M$ office for the Mac, then junked it for Libre office - it worked fine but i just prefer it.

      Does everything i need it too, and sometimes i swap files with work plebs and walking pound signs, sorry i mean customers and they are none the wiser that i dont use office, not been a problem as of yet.

      If there is a problem, i will probably head in the direction of office365, but it would have to be a major problem. and i would use Safari just to annoy M$ :D

      1. Anonymous Coward
        Anonymous Coward

        Re: Libre office for Mac...

        "and i would use Safari just to annoy M$"

        Instead of using IE5 on your mac? Really? I don't suppose they care which browser you use, as long as you pay them.

  2. Silverburn

    I still haven't used all the features in Office 11, so methinks I'll happily pass this time.

  3. jai

    another move in the software giant's territory battle

    Territory battles in software usually result in prices being brought down, not up.

    Someone needs to explain to M$ that increasing prices isn't the right way to attract new customers - perhaps they had a price-userbase graph displaying upside down on their Surface pad

    1. Silverburn

      Especially in this situation when they're competing with iworks.

      Ignoring the fact the iworks apps are actually not that good - they come pre-loaded (in trial form) on new macs, costs a fraction of the MS office price, and can even be installed on your iphone/ipad allowing documents to be synced transparently between them via icloud (though why you'd want to trust Apple like that is the topic for another discussion).

      That's an uphill sell for MS. They need to bring the price down to $40 just to be level pegging.

      1. Anonymous Coward
        Anonymous Coward


        ...not that good, but good enough to be usable as an alternative for all but power users.

        Seems a bit daft to me - surely the ubiquity of Office is what keeps the vice like grip and let's MS milk corporates for licences. Any dilution of that ubiquity reduces the impetus surely?

        I really don't think anyone in Redmond can see past the end of their noses these days, never mind strategically... :-/

        1. ThomH

          Re: Agreed...

          There's nothing missing or wrong with iWork that 90% of users would ever spot. So in practical terms it's 90% as good.

          Weirdly it wasn't preinstalled on the Mac I bought recently; I'm not sure if that's because it was refurbished (though iPhoto, GarageBand, etc, were there).

          1. Wensleydale Cheese

            Re: Agreed...


            "Weirdly it wasn't preinstalled on the Mac I bought recently; I'm not sure if that's because it was refurbished (though iPhoto, GarageBand, etc, were there)."

            As far as I am aware iWork doesn't come on new Macs either, but iWeb, iPhoto, Garageband etc do.

            1. ThomH

              Re: Agreed... (@Wensleydale Cheese)

              That was my impression too; I was writing in response to Silverburn though I realise I was slightly ambiguous so: it was a MacBook Pro (ie, a 'professional' model) but had no trial versions of anything preinstalled. Not Office, not iWork, not anything.

              I tend to prefer Pages over Word because it fits so much better into the OS and hence so much better into normal workflows. Last time I used Word it had not just its own keybindings as referenced by Quxy but its own dictionaries and its own text rendering — which was very heavily hinted and not pair kerned, like Windows XP used to be, so stuck out like a sore thumb. Before Pages I was using IBM Lotus Symphony, which was OpenOffice under a different UI and is now discontinued.

      2. Quxy
        Thumb Down

        "iworks apps are actually not that good"

        When was the last time you actually compared modern versions of iWork and MS Office for Mac?

        My employer provided a licence for Office 2011, but for most jobs I end up using iWork's Pages and Keynote instead of Word and Powerpoint, simply because it's easier to produce professional results with iWork -- and because Microsoft decided to manage keybindings on their own, disabling standard Cocoa keybindings and forcing the Windows CUA on Mac users. So far everyone has been happy with the Word files I export from Pages.

        (When it comes to academic writing, neither Pages nor Word are up to the task, so I (like most of my colleagues) use LaTeX. I suppose that the capabilities of Excel outstrip Numbers; but I'm a scientist, so I use Matlab, R, and Octave instead of spreadsheets.)

        1. N2
          Thumb Up

          Re: "iworks apps are actually not that good"

          Thats fine, I agree for your line of work, you need specific apps which do the job miles better, for me, iWork is fine, I know the limitations but it dosnt affect productivity & as for that its actually very good for what I do.

      3. Ivan Headache


        Ignoring the fact that it some considerable time since iWork (in trial form) came installed on new Macs. It's never been installed on new macs as standard, and it sounds as though your experience is of the pre-2006 version (which admittedley, was not that brilliant).

        However, it has changed. I open all word docs and docx sent to me in Pages and I send them back as doc. No-one knows. I use Pages in schools to produce booklets with young kids. When I do my presentations I get comments like "our Powerpoints never look as good as that' that's because Powerpoint is nowhere to be found on my macs, Keybote does it all.

        My only downer on iWork is that Numbers (the spreadsheet module) is not as quick to learn if you want to develop large sheets. It is very clever (clever enough for most users (other than power users)) and produces great 3D charts with lots of control. It's just the getting there that takes a bit longer.

        I can honestly say that I haven't opened Excel now since numbers was installed.

    2. P. Lee

      > Territory battles in software usually result in prices being brought down, not up.

      The territory is MS ecosystem vs Apple ecosystem.

      Raising the Office-for-Mac price narrows the difference between OSX+Office and Windows+Office.

      Finger in the air guess - It probably won't have much impact. Most Mac's are personal devices and people don't often buy office retail - they get it at home using the $15 deal.

      That said, I wouldn't be surprised if Office eventually arrives with a Windows CAL & price tag. Then MS can port to other OS' without losing revenue. Anti-trust issues just needs to be worked around probably by integration with an "online" service: a local windows CAL gives you a discount off the desktop required to run Office 365 from a remote host.

    3. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      What makes you think they're trying to attract NEW customers?

      Someone needs to explain to M$ that increasing prices isn't the right way to attract new customers

      The whole point of building a monopoly is that you have people who have little option but to buy your product, so that you can raise your prices exactly like they're doing.

      The people who already own MS Office on OS X are going to pay the increase, because they wouldn't be using MS Office if they didn't need to. If they only needed office software that had OK but not perfect MS compatibility they'd be using iWork, LibreOffice or Google Docs.

  4. JDX Gold badge


    Does this work on Mac - is it fully web-based or does it [still?] require a downloaded component?

    What about the instant-download feature... Windows only?

    I was interested when browsing my local Fapple store, to note that they had MSOffice installed on all the demo machines. I'd never thought it was a big deal to Apple users but maybe it is now Apple has managed to get a half decent slice of market share.

  5. Anonymous Coward

    Office For Mac

    Wonder if the equal parity in pricing will mean equal functionality! I have Office 2011 on this Mac and its pretty awful. My latest problem with it is that it refuses to load in filenames with hyphens or brackets across the network. It complains they are "illegal". Yet every other OSX app is happy with them and the files have been saved on a Windows 7 PC running office that sits next to the Mac! Same Windows box opens them happily!

    Unfortunately for me, client requirements mean I need to reproduce their Powerpoint presentations with 100% accuracy so I'm stuck with the stinking thing.

    1. JDX Gold badge

      Re: Office For Mac

      Why don't you just use Parallels or VirtualBox? The latter is free, but the former would let you launch Word for Windwos et al from your OSX launch-bar (very cool).

      1. Anonymous Coward

        Re: Office For Mac

        Tried the Parallels route. Doing it that way is about the only way to make the Mac version look quick, elegant and slender. A VM is a big old resource hog remember.

        Actually have just changed to VMware which seems marginally better. Although I opted to upgrade to Windows 8 which is "interesting":-)

  6. Boris the Cockroach Silver badge


    we have Office for Linux please... without all that faffing about with wine

    1. Silverburn

      Re: Can

      Getting office to work with Linux will require lots of wine, I'm afraid. A case of Chateau Neuf at a minimum.

    2. HamsterNet

      Re: Can

      Yes its call use the online version.

    3. Chad H.

      Re: Can

      >Uses Linux

      >wants to buy overpriced MS software


  7. Ramazan

    windows' prices

    That's not Windows' prices yet. To come equal, MS should have added Windows 8 Home price to the price of Office 2013 Home for Mac. E.g. price Office 2013 Home for Windows at $120 and Office 2013 Home for Mac at $220 ($220 == $120 for Office itself and $100 compensation for having not bought Windows 8 Home, bitch).

  8. Steve Todd

    They seem to have forgotten why they made Office cheap on the Mac

    Apart from the fact that they missed out some functionality, they needed to compete with iWork, which could be bought as individual packages for £13.99 a pop (and run on multiple machines). Most home users will find Apple's offerings sufficient so increasing the price is a great way to start a downward spiral.

  9. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    Apple Stores

    The price rise doesn't matter. The guys in the local Apple store here just ignore the licensing rules. I have a business client who walked into that store and bought two Macs. For his business. Paid for from his business account. And they sold him the Home and Student edition. Which is clearly not for business use.

    As an ex-developer myself that always annoys me. Why shouldn't Microsoft be paid for their product? Most businesses with a computer spend the majority of their time in Word, Excel, Powerpoint or Outlook.

    1. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      Re: Apple Stores

      Our business doesn't [spend all its time in one of MS' office suite].

      You need a compelling reason to be allowed to use any Office products. We have one VM (per supported Office version) for testing the documents we create. A few salespeople have insisted on Outlook, so they get that (and nothing else) from our pool of old office licenses.

      Google Apps costs about $10 per seat per year, and provides virtually unlimited email archiving, full (but slightly limited) office suite, calendaring that can synch to devices easily, no magic outlook connectors required.

      We don't have to maintain our email architecture any more - there was special jubilation, involving a sledgehammer, when the final domino server was retired. Files are seamlessly shared between people and edited in real time by multiple people around the world simultaneously, which actually works wonderfully.

      If the license was cheaper, would we take it? Maybe, but as cheap as Google Apps? Unlikely to happen.

      Salesforce tried something similar, we increased our licenses with them, they then racked up the prices, so we trimmed full SF access to just those who absolutely need full access, and wrote an in house app to update SF with information gathered from those who don't, saving tens of thousands a year.

      1. Anonymous Coward
        Anonymous Coward

        Re: Apple Stores

        Google Apps costs about $10 per seat per year

        .. and the service is subject to the same flawed Privacy Policy as has been questioned by the EU. If you use Google Apps for business, this means your company will be breaking EU privacy laws instead of Google. You may want to check up on that is you're in the EU..

    2. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      Re: Apple Stores

      I agree with your last point... those who absolutely must (or so they say) have a premium-priced product should jolly well pay the premium price. What's the point of proclaiming "I love vendor X, they are the best" and then violating vendor X's licensing terms?

      The problem is, vendor X has a vested interest in keeping things that way - it closes off the market to cheaper but less functional competitors who then never get the traction needed to produce a full-featured product.

      I'm also a former developer, but have noted that 80% of the income of Microsoft's Windows and Office division is pure profit. Couple that with the twisty maze of licensing that is designed to extract the maximum of cash from each type of customer and I can't really say there is any sympathy left for Microsoft when people use the "wrong edition" of MS Office. After all, they are still making a handsome profit on the 3-license Home and Student edition.

      As you go up the "ladder" of editions all that happens is that the profit margin transitions from handsome to usurious to outrageous.

      All told my real sympathy is with developers working for other firms who produce good product at a fair price but who have been elbowed aside in the marketplace.

    3. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      Re: Apple Stores

      Sorry. When I said "Most businesses with a computer spend the majority of their time in Word, Excel, Powerpoint or Outlook." I meant many Small Businesses. I'm thinking of the little guys here with just a few machines and employees.

      1. Anonymous Coward
        Anonymous Coward

        @AC 16:05GMT - Re: Apple Stores

        I have no compassion for those small, medium or big businesses. If they allowed themselves to be tied up and locked to the Microsoft wagon, they should pay for that. As they say in my country of origin, those who don't open their eyes will have to open their purse.

        1. Anonymous Coward
          Anonymous Coward

          Re: @AC 16:05GMT - Apple Stores

          >I have no compassion for those small, medium or big businesses.

          I'm sure they're heartbroken.

  10. Tom 35

    Windows price

    Did they also change the licence so you can only install it on one computer like Office 2013?

  11. OffBeatMammal

    when with $ parity == feature parity

    I actually don't mind paying $20 more for Office for Mac (well, I wouldn't, but I'm planning on getting O365 Family Edition or whatever it's called anyway so it's moot) but I'd like to see feature parity, not a half arsed attempt at keeping up with the previous version. Word, Excel etc aren't bad but Outlook is a world of pain

    I found the experience so painful that I run Outlook in a WM under Fusion rather than use either or Outlook for Mac!

    1. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      Re: when with $ parity == feature parity

      yeah it's a big issue. because of that i'm using now mail & calendar from mac and outlook only for complicated tasks.

      I'd also pay for full office functionality on mac, but ms delivered a half baked product which is not compatible fully with the windows version. No need to pay them again. I'm starting to create my documents in pages (I'm pretty sure that Excel cannot be replaced).

  12. Mikey

    What people are failing to see here is that Mac owners are used to paying silly amounts for things and that in all likelihood quite a few Macolytes complained that it wasn't expensive enough...

    So now all that's happened is that Microsoft have brough their pricing in line with Apple Standards, and hey presto! All is well again.

    1. Chad H.

      Stupid troll should check apples price for an office suite and come back.

      1. John Savard

        Is iWork like an office suite, or like things like Word Pad and Paint that come with Windows for free? I know that there used to be $29.95 semi-office-suites for the PC, and maybe iWork is better than those, but since Open Office is free, I don't see that iWork changes the situation.

    2. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      What people are failing to see here is that Mac owners are used to paying silly amounts for things and that in all likelihood quite a few Macolytes complained that it wasn't expensive enough...

      What people DO see is that you have never been close enough to the Apple platform to have an opinion based on actual facts, facts even the most cursory addition of costs available from any online shop would have demonstrated. A Mac is only expensive (and at risk from infection) if you use Microsoft and Adobe products. If your job allows you to avoid that, computing on a Mac is actually substantial cheaper.

    3. ThomH

      Microsoft has raised the price of Office for the Mac to be the same as Office for Windows. Mac users aren't paying a premium.

  13. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward


    Are Apple going to abandon their product ? iWork was significantly updated in 2009 - embarrassing.

  14. dkjd

    2013 windows bound to PC

    According to danish website office 2013 license is tied to particular PC, so when your PC dies you have to cough up for a new license:

    1. graeme leggett Silver badge

      Re: 2013 windows bound to PC

      "consumer" version - doesn't mention change for Pro version (yet?...)

  15. Avatar of They

    Funniest concept ever.

    "Microsoft Surface is competing with the Ipad."

    Ha ha ha ha ha ha ha ha ha ha ha ha

    New keyboard please.

    1. John Savard

      Re: Funniest concept ever.

      Why, yes it is. And so is Android. Android is doing quite well, thank you. As for Microsoft's Surface - competing doesn't have to mean competing successfully.

  16. Fred 4

    Missing the forest for the trees

    all of this talk about Office 365, Google Docs, and other cloud services -

    is missing a very important issue -


    with any cloud based service. If you (collective you) are a Gov't, or business putting your daily correspondence and business documents in a cloud service is ASKING for trouble. Gov't (inter agency as well) spying*, competitor spying*, police spying*.

    This is not to mention the issue of directed adverts, looking at you Google

    * spying - in this instance, reading copying documents/information that the originator did not intend to for the 'spy' to see/read/have.

    1. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward


      I work for an EU-based multinational whose IT department moved all corporate email to Outlook 365 six months ago. Now the specific EU government with whom we have some defence development contracts is very pointedly asking our corporate lawyers why on earth they thought it was legal to store EU government email on US-controlled servers...

      1. This post has been deleted by its author

      2. Anonymous Coward
        Anonymous Coward

        Re: Yep.

        Now the specific EU government with whom we have some defence development contracts is very pointedly asking our corporate lawyers why on earth they thought it was legal to store EU government email on US-controlled servers...

        Yup, this is the kind of stuff we clean up on a daily basis.. We have also done some interesting research on the legality of Google services, and the conclusion is that not only is there quite a risk using Google for an EU company, looking at the *cough* "help" offered by Google, it appears Google itself may know full well they are on the wrong side of EU law.

        The problem with *business* use of Google is that you inherit that liability as a company..

      3. El Andy

        Re: Yep.

        Then someone in your company screwed up, since you can requests that your Office 365 data never leaves EU servers if you require it.

        1. Fred Flintstone Gold badge

          Re: Yep.

          you can requests that your Office 365 data never leaves EU servers if you require it.

          That illusion only lasts until you read the US PATRIOT Act *properly*..

  17. HamsterNet
    Paris Hilton

    Who actually pays for MS software other than businesses?

    I sure never have and probably never will... I can always find a hacked copy, black copy (genius MS versions with no copyright in them), or a spare key from any number of places. Some of the keys I have used are even legal.

    Last time I used a Mac (was it slow leper?) the office software didn't require any activation, just downloaded and installed.

    Paris - as some things in life are not free.

  18. Herby

    This just in....

    Apple announces that Libre Office will be installed on all shipping Macs. Documentation book to be priced at $20. Apple also announces that they will be participating in the development and improvement of Libre Office in the near future.

    Well, we can hope!

  19. Bill Gould


    Most people posting seem to stop their consideration of Office before reaching Outlook. Integrating mail and calendar better than any other app I've tried (most of them). Oh but Google Docs is... blah blah blah. GMail interface is ass unless you connect via IMAP from ... whoops, Outlook.

    While email is falling into the legacy area for most personal use, in a corporate and SMB environment it's still the king. The increasing uptake of BYOD programs* means that people want/need a real mail client that talks to their Exchange clusters**. Or they're just like me and want to keep a good calendar integrated with a solid email platform.

    Anyway, do what you will.

    * In which they should only be using applications via Citrix anyway and ignoring their local apps for work use (small business is a special case, and they need helmets).

    ** Exchange, because lulz Domino.

    1. Quxy
      Thumb Down


      Well, I guess that it works well in comparison to any web-based solution, particularly (shudder) Microsoft's own OWA. But Mac's own mail and calendar applications now integrate seamlessly with corporate Exchange servers and Outlook 365, so it's hard to think of a reason for using Outlook on a Mac, unless you're a long-time Outlook user who doesn't want to switch. may not have as many features as Outlook, but filtering rules are easier to set up and (I would argue) more powerful; and best of all, it handles email formatting properly, properly implementing Internet (RFC 3676) quoting (which has been completely broken in Outlook since 2003) and avoiding the line wrapping errors that Outlook is so famous for.

    2. Admiral Grace Hopper

      Re: Mail

      Yes, that and the dead weight of the business logic encapsulated in the VBA and macros embedded in more Excel spreadsheets and Word templates than I would care to count, analyse, debug and re-implement.

      For corporation-wide email nothing is as integrated or effective as Exchange. For everything else there is a viable no-Microsoft alternative, but not for Exchange. As soon as there is, then Microsoft is hosed.

  20. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward


    Access has never been available AFAIK. So this completely puts Office Mac into the more casual user market.

    So if they're charging more and not making it available then it's a swizz.

  21. This post has been deleted by its author

  22. Cyfaill

    LibreOffice 4 was just released.

    Use it.

    There is no Microsoft, unless you look for it.

  23. Lallabalalla

    Which alternative?

    Do Open and Libre Office both require Java? Because prominent on Neo's website is the interesting fact....

    • New Cocoa code replaces Java

  24. Lallabalalla

    " Microsoft begins to compete with Apple in the hardware market. Microsoft's new Surface..."

    HaHa! In your dreams Redmond. In your dreams.

  25. John Savard

    Although it's a price increase

    Isn't most Mac software much more expensive than corresponding software for the Windows platform, because of the lack of competition? So this doesn't seem like too much of a disaster for Mac users. Who, of course, can always use Open Office, just like everyone else, since it's available for the Mac as well as for Windows and Linux.

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