Pay-as-you-go MS Office

Pay-as-you-go MS Office

Use Microsoft's software on month-by-month basis with Fasthosts

Fasthosts is offering its customers the chance to use Microsoft's Office software on a monthly pay-as-you-go basis.

The web host and email provider will offer the software to its customers under the Software-as-a-Service (SaaS) model.

This means that people will avoid the up-front costs of a boxed copy but still benefit from free updates and support.

The Teacher and Student Edition, which costs £38. 95 to buy, will be rented to anyone in full-time education for £5.86 a month; this edition includes Word, Excel, Powerpoint and Outlook. The Professional Edition, which costs £600 to buy outright, will cost Fasthost customers £8.21 a month for home use, or £23.49 a month to use it at work.

To get a copy people must register free on the Fasthosts website and pay the monthly fee with a credit or debit card. The software is then run locally on a user's PC and verified with Fasthosts whenever a they go online. Fasthost also claims that the MS Office suite is exactly the same in appearance and functionality as the boxed product.

However, there is a catch, people must have an internet connection to use the service. Fasthosts also said that if the connection cuts out while using the software the program would restart and any unsaved work would be lost.

It said it was currently working on an offline version but until then people are advised to update the autosave function found in the software. This can be done by clicking on the Tools menu in an Office program, then Options, and then the Save tab. From here a user must check the Save AutoRecover info box and enter the minutes for how often they want files to be saved.