Microsoft's push into software as a subscription service started years ago, but it has accelerated in the past two years with the rapidly evolving Office 365.

Today, businesses that want Microsoft's Office programs on desktop and portable PCs have to decide between traditional perpetual licenses and Office 365 subscription plans. There's no simple answer to the "buy or rent" question for most businesses, but it's easy enough to calculate the costs of each option.

The crucial difference between traditional volume licenses and the Office 365 subscription model hinges on a key distinction: Volume licenses are assigned on a per-device basis, wherea ...

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