The following is a post from Microsoft Chief Executive Officer Steve Ballmer.
In October 2012, I wrote a letter to shareholders outlining how the full value of our software will be seen and felt in how people use devices and services at work and in their personal lives. This is a fundamental shift in our business that began several years ago and continues today with the release of Office 365 Home Premium. This is a brand new Office never experienced before.
For the first time, consumers can subscribe to Office as a service instead of purchasing Office as a piece of software to install. The new Office subscription is an entirely new way to think about the productivity experience with entirely new benefits. Over time, the majority of the billion plus people using Office will be using the Office 365 service.
Office 365 Home Premium subscribers receive all the full-featured Office applications they know and love, together with impressive new cloud and social benefits built in. One subscription can run the service on up to five devices, all for just $99.99 a year. People will love instant access to all their documents and settings across their devices and how Office takes full advantage of the new Windows 8 touch interface. They’ll love staying connected to the people and information they care about. And they’ll love having the latest version of Office at all times because it simply updates without the hassle of purchasing and upgrading to a new version.
These are some of the reasons we’re seeing such strong momentum with our business customers. In fact, since we launched Office 365 for businesses only 18 months ago, 1 in 5 of our enterprise customers now has the service, up from 1 in 7 a year ago. Smaller businesses are also choosing Office 365 at a rapid pace, with a 150 percent increase in the number of small and medium-sized businesses using the service over the past 12 months. These businesses will get to enjoy the new Office 365 service for businesses beginning Feb. 27.
Transforming from a software-maker to a devices and services company requires us to make big, bold bets and push our business in new directions. We are incredibly well and uniquely positioned to delight our customers with stunning new Windows PCs, tablets and phones that light up with world-class entertainment, communications and productivity services. Today’s announcement of Office 365 Home Premium is our next bold step forward. It’s a productivity service that is a trusted and integral part of our always-on, always-connected lives – check it out.