Microsoft raises Office for Mac 2011 prices, pushes customers toward Office 365

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Three weeks after Microsoft released Office 365 Home Premium, a subscription-based service that gives Macs, PCs and Windows tablets access to the complete set of Office applications, it was discovered that the Redmond company quietly upped the price of single use Office for Mac copies by as much as 17 percent.

First spotted by Computerworld, the new pricing structure puts the outdated Microsoft Office for Mac 2011 in the same tier as its newer PC counterpart, Office 2013 for Windows. Also deprecated from the Mac version are multi-license bundles, meaning those interested in purchasing can now only install the software on one device at a time.

The publication proposes that the change was designed to spur sales of Microsoft's newest Office 365 suite, the "Home Premium" version of which includes a complete set of Office applications that can be installed on up to five Macs, PCs, and Windows tablets. To access the cloud-based solution, users pay a yearly subscription of $99.99. Student pricing comes in at a substantially cheaper $79.99 for a four-year subscription to Office 365 University.

Microsoft now charges $140 for the single-license Office for Mac Home & Student and $220 for Office for Mac Home & Business, a respective 17 percent and 10 percent price hike from the previous $120 and $200 price points.

As for the now-extinct multi-license packages, the company once offered a three-license bundle of Office for Mac Home & Student for $150 and a two-license set of Office for Mac Home & Business for $250. Using the new pricing scheme, it would cost $420 to buy three separate licenses of Home & Student and $440 for two Home & Business licenses, representing 180 percent and 76 percent increases from the erstwhile bundles, respectively.

While Microsoft and Apple's respective online stores now reflect the higher prices, Office for Mac 2011 can still be found at the older pricing in both single- and multi-license versions from online retailers like Amazon.