Microsoft launched Office 2019 late last year, but if the company’s new ad campaign is anything to go by, the company would really prefer if you didn’t buy it. Instead, Microsoft’s latest ads pit sets of identical twins against each other to complete office-themed challenges, with the end result showing that the company feels you’d be much better off with a monthly or yearly subscription to Office 365 instead, as spotted by TechCrunch.
The commercials are, put simply, extremely bizarre, with Microsoft intentionally going out of its way to show just how bad and inefficient the one-time payment version of its productivity suite is compared to the constant stream of updates it pushes to the subscription-based version.
It’s the style of ad that you’d assume Microsoft would use to show Office’s strengths compared to a competitor like Apple’s iWork suite or Google Drive, right down to the heavily skewed tasks that of course favor a specific side. But it’s dramatically more baffling to see those kinds of marketing tactics used by a company against its own products.
That Microsoft is pushing Office 365 over the one-time purchase Office 2019 option is no surprise — a single license of Office 365 Personal costs $69.99 per year, compared to the one-time cost of Office 2019 for $149.99. Given that you’ll recoup the cost of the single payment in about two years of use, and the fact that most people don’t really need to update Office that often (at a certain point, any version of Word will write that essay on the American Revolution or lab report just about the same), it’s easy to see why Microsoft would rather lock customers into recurring subscriptions to keep profits up.
Odd as the ads may be, they do provide a good example of the growing divide between the modern trend of software as a service, with apps like Adobe Creative Cloud and Office, and the more traditional payment system that customers are used to. And if those trends are anything to go by, odds are Microsoft won’t be the last company trying to convince customers to make the switch to subscribe.