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Home users can now ”rent” Microsoft Office

Seattle, Washington (dpa) – Despite its name, Microsoft Office has long been a must-have application suite for many home users, with programs like Word, Excel, and PowerPoint widely used by consumers around the world.

But while businesses had the option of buying a monthly subscription for use on multiple PCs, home users until now had to shell out the full cost of the software at the time of purchase.

Microsoft has implemented a change to that policy with the introduction of Office 365 for home users, with a 99 dollar per year plan that allows installation of the productivity suite on up to five machines.

Cloud-based Office 365 offers other features too, such as frequent updates and seamless access to documents from any online machine.

Microsoft is making changes as it seeks to stem the challenge from rivals like Google Docs, the free suite of cloud-based programs that is drawing people away from Office, Microsoft’s cash cow.

The plan is also available on a 9.99 dollar per month pay-as-you-go plan, the US company says.

With regular prices for the traditional Office package starting at 140 dollars, that would be a good deal for a family with multiple machines, but it would be costly for someone with only one or two machines who rarely uses the Office software.