Office 2019 or Office 365: Which Is a Better Fit for Your Business?

Considering replacing an old version of Microsoft Office on your computers or adding the productivity suite to recent purchased units? Lets first check out Office 2019, verses Office 365 to help with your decision.

Comparison

Office 2019 is an on-premises product that you purchase upfront for use on a single computer. You can use this suite’s apps for as long as you want. However, Microsoft will not have any upgrade options for it in the future. So if you want to upgrade to the next major on-premises Office release (say Office 2022), you will be buying it at full price.

There are three Microsoft Office 2019 suites available through volume licensing: Office Professional Plus 2019, Office Standard 2019, and Office Standard 2019 for Mac. If you require fewer than five licenses, you can use Office Professional 2019 or Office Home & Business 2019, both are licensed for business use.

These suites (excluding Office Standard 2019 for Mac) need to run on Windows 10 computers. If you are running older Windows versions on your computers, Office 2019 is not for you.

If you have Mac computers, your options are Office Standard 2019 for Mac or Office Home & Business 2019. These suites are compatible with the three most recent versions of macOS – 10.14, 10.13, and 10.12 at the time of this writing. The next time Apple releases a new major version of macOS (say 10.15), Microsoft will drop support for the oldest of the three versions (10.12) and support the newest version and its two predecessors (10.15, 10.14, and 10.13). Office apps will still work on computers running the dropped version (10.12), but the apps will not receive any updates.

Office 365 is a cloud service that you subscribe to on a per-user basis. Businesses have several subscription plans to choose from, based on how many employees need to use Office 365 and the apps, services, and other options your users will need. With most of the business subscription plans, each licensed user can install the Office apps on five desktop computers (Windows or Mac), five tablets, and five smartphones. With Office 365, you do not need to worry about upgrading as users will always have the most up-to-date versions of the apps.

Unlike Office 2019, Office 365 works on computers running older versions of Windows. Office 365 is compatible with Windows 10, Windows 8.1, Windows 7 Service Pack 1, plus the two most recent versions of macOS.

Functionality & Support

Office 2019 provides more functionality than its predecessor Office 2016. For Office 2019, Microsoft added a text-to-speech feature to Word plus funnel charts to Excel. However, Office 2019 provides less functionality than the current Office 365 apps. Office 2019 apps do not include many of the cloud and artificial intelligence (AI)-based features that Microsoft has added to Office 365 apps the past few years. For instance, in Office 2019, Word does not include the Editor feature, even though it is available in the Word app provided through Office 365. This feature uses machine learning and natural language processing to make suggestions on how to improve your writing.

With Office 2019, you will not get any new features delivered through updates. Updates will include only security and stability patches. In contrast, Microsoft will continue to add new features to Office 365 through updates. These updates will also include security and stability patches.  There is another difference in how Microsoft supports Office 2019 compared to Office 365. As long as you subscribe to Office 365, you will receive mainstream support. With Office 2019, Microsoft will provide only five years of mainstream support and two years of extended support.

Summary

What is best for your company will largely depend on your comfort level with cloud computing. If you are comfortable with using cloud services, subscribing to Office 365 might make more sense. It offers more features and better support than Office 2019. Plus, Office 365 apps work on older versions of Windows. However, Office 2019 is a viable alternative if using cloud services is not a good fit for your business. We encourage our clients to use O365.

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