July 18, 2012, 1:11 PM — Microsoft yesterday clarified that Mac users will not be able to download and install a copy of Office for Mac 2011 as one of the five licenses allowed by the new Office 365 subscription plans.
The news may make the subscription deals, including Office 365 Home Premium, less attractive to consumers and businesses that have both Macs and Windows PCs.
While Office for Mac 2011 will integrate with Office 365 plans to some extent, users will not be given licenses to the OS X software.
"To clarify, those that have Office for Mac 2011 licenses and install the update, once it's available, will be able to use their Office for Mac 2011 license as one of the 5 devices in the Office Home Premium subscription," a Microsoft spokesperson said in an email reply to questions Tuesday.
Computerworld had posed two possible interpretations of earlier comments by Microsoft about how Mac users fit into the plans for the Office 365 subscription deals, which will give consumers five licenses to the new Office 2013 on Windows.
The first scenario: Someone subscribing to Office 365 Home Premium would be able to download, free of charge, Office for Mac 2011 from a Microsoft source, install it on a Mac and run it using one of the five licenses in the plan.
The second: Someone who subscribes to Office 365 Home Premium will have to pay for Office for Mac 2011 in the usual fashion, download and install it. The benefit of associating Office for Mac 2011 with the Office 365 subscription plan would be the integration between the Macs and PCs via SkyDrive and other means.
"The answer is really the latter scenario," said the Microsoft spokesperson.
On Monday, Microsoft had said, "When available, the full release of Office 365 will be available on Mac computers in addition to PCs." A fact sheet for Office 365 Home Premium Preview stated "Office for Mac 2011 included for Macs," which was interpreted by Computerworld as meaning subscribers to Office 365 plans would get the newest Mac office gratis when counted as one of the five allowed licenses.
Instead, consumers and businesses must purchase Office for Mac 2011 separately. The suite's list prices start at $119.99 for a one-license copy of Office for Mac Home & Student 2011, climb to $149.99 for a three-pack and $199.99 for a single-license version of Office for Mac Home & Business 2011, and end at $279.99 with the two-pack of that edition.
Retail prices are usually lower: Amazon.com, for example, currently has the three-license version of Office for Mac Home & Student 2011 at $99.46 and the two-pack of Office for Mac Home & Business 2011 at $212.24.