Every Office 365 Home Premium subscription also includes 60 monthly minutes of international calls via Skype and 20GB of SkyDrive storage. At the end of the licensing period, all programs revert to read-only status unless you renew. The biggest drawback to Office 365 Home Premium is that it's licensed for noncommercial use only; if you use Office 365 for "revenue-generating activity," you must use the Office 365 Small Business Premium SKU or higher. According to Microsoft, you're likewise covered if your Office license at work includes home use.
Cloud connectionsMicrosoft prides itself on the way Office 365 is delivered to PCs. Instead of running the traditional .MSI installer from media, you download a 500K installation stub from the Web. The stub triggers a "streamed" download that fetches components of Office on-demand and installs them in a virtual file system using Microsoft's application virtualization technology (App-V). One benefit is that Home Premium can be installed side by side with previous versions of Office.
Another benefit is a fast install. On my connection, the entire Office 2013 suite -- Word, Excel, Outlook, PowerPoint, Access, Publisher, and OneNote -- took about five minutes to get installed and running, with a PowerPoint slide deck unfolding in the foreground to walk me through the new features. If installing a portion of the suite threatens to slow down proceedings, a dialog box pops up from the tray to alert you. I saw this warning a couple of times, but only during the first usage of a given program. Everything after that was snappy.
Office 2013 integrates closely with Microsoft's online services, both for the sake of making one's own work portable and for enhancing collaboration. You don't have to use a Microsoft sign-in identity to use the suite, but doing so gives you automatic access to files in SkyDrive, through which you can collaboratively edit documents with other users in real time. Plus, any Office settings you have will move with you between systems -- not just cosmetic preferences like visual styles for the program, but also low-level settings like custom dictionaries in Word.