The Office Click-To-Run Setup

As you’ve probably head, Office 2013 supports now two installation options: the traditional MSI-based installation and the new Click-To-Run streaming installation. Chris Webb mentioned about it here and Melissa Coates describes how it works in more details here. The MSI setup is a perpetual one (you pay for a version once and you’re entitled to fixes for it) while the C2R setup is a subscription-based Office 365 setup (you continuously pay for using the software and you’re entitled to fixes and the latest features within the SKU you’re subscribed to). Perpetual installations will get updates (cumulative updates and service packs) just like they’re used to but they are meant primarily to be fixes rather than features. On the other hand, Office 365 subscribers have the benefit of getting fixes and new features as long as their subscription is active. Currently, there is no way to switch your existing Office installation from MSI to subscriber-based or vice versa. You must uninstall Office 2013 and reinstall. Once you do this, you’ll find that there is no difference as far as user experience. C2R still installs Office on the desktop although in different location.

The C2R setup has important ramifications on self-service BI. C2R users will have an always up-to-date service allowing Microsoft to add new functionality to the Office applications at a much faster rate. We’ve already seen this with the synonyms feature that are used for natural queries, aka Q&A (Q&A requires Power BI). Although I’ve initially dismissed the streaming installation, the C2R option now seems very attractive. I’ve already have an Office 365 subscription for e-mail and SharePoint. Shelving a few more bucks to upgrade to Power BI and stay on the latest and greatest seems like a good value proposition because I don’t have to wait for Office.NEXT to get the latest and greatest. More information about Office 365 plans can be found here. As an extension to Office 365, Power BI charges a premium as explained here.

A roadmap of C2R planned features is currently in the works so customers know the details of what’s coming up and when.