Microsoft discounts consumer Office 365 by 30% under 'Home Use Program'

Microsoft discounts consumer Office 365 by 30% under 'Home Use Program'

The changes cut the price of an annual subscription for Office 365 Home to $69.99 and for Office 365 Personal, $48.99.

Credit: Martyn Williams

Microsoft now offers discounts of 30% on consumer-grade Office 365 subscriptions to employees of companies with "Home Use Program" agreements.

The savings reduced Office 365 Home subscription to $69.99 yearly, and Office 365 Personal to $48.99.

Home Use Program (HUP) is one of the benefits provided by Software Assurance (SA), in turn either included with some Office licensing categories or optional with others. Although SA may be best known for granting upgrade rights to the next version of a "perpetual" license - such as Office 2019 - it also is included with some subscription-based licensing of, for instance, Office 365 or its more inclusive big sister, Microsoft 365.

HUP has long offered employees of eligible organizations discounts on perpetual Office licenses, those purchased with one-time payments that grant the user rights to run the software as long as desired, even theoretically in perpetuity. The offer of Office 365 Home and Office 365 Personal, however, is new.

Reports in February said that the consumer subscriptions would soon come to HUP; it's unclear when Office 365 Home and Personal were first offered to HUP participants.

Office 365 subscriptions acquired via HUP will simply extend existing Home and Personal plans the employee may already have. Notably, once purchased at discount, all future renewals will also be at the lower price, even if the buyer no longer works for the organization.

Perpetual license products - Office Professional Plus 2019 for Windows 10 and Office Home & Business 2019 for Mac (macOS) - may also be available to a customer with HUP rights. The prices for these packages quoted to Computerworld's staffers - the publication's parent company, IDG, has HUP rights - displayed even steeper discounts than for Office 365: Office Professional Plus 2019, which lists for $559, was just $19.04, while Office Home & Business 2019 for Mac was only $14.99 (retail price, $249.99). However, Microsoft made it clear that the one-PC-per-license deals were obsolete and likely to be retired from HUP.

"Microsoft is updating the Home Use Program to offer discounts on the latest and most up to date products, such as Office 365," the company wrote in an item on a FAQ list.

The Redmond, Wash. firm also trumpeted the value of Office 365 Home or Personal, and thus HUP, even though many organizations provide Microsoft's productivity applications through corporate Office 365 subscriptions. Those at-work plans allow workers to install Office's apps on multiple devices, including PCs or Macs used at home.

That generosity doesn't invalidate HUP, Microsoft argued. "The Office license assigned to you by your employer is for your use only," Microsoft said elsewhere in the FAQ. "This applies whether you access Office from a device at your home or a device provided by your employer. Whereas if you purchase Office 365 Home through the Home Use Program, it can be used by your family."

Office 365 Home lets up to six family members install and use the Office applications on their devices; each receives 1TB of OneDrive storage space.

More information about HUP - and instructions on how to determine eligibility - can be found on this website.

Office 365 subscription IDG/Gregg Keizer

Microsoft's now steering eligible customers to consumer-grade Office 365 subscriptions under its Home Use Program benefit, and away from perpetual licenses of Office.

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