Office 365 is Microsoft’s latest Office offering. It includes all the programs that previous Microsoft Office suites included such as Word, Excel and PowerPoint. As in previous Office suites you can buy more complex packages or the basic package. The more complex include a number of other programs Microsoft has in the Office family such as Project, access, Outlook and others.
The previous versions of office you bought a license to use Office and loaded Office on your computer. Many people considered it buying the program but in actuality you only bought a license to use it. Then when they made a major upgrade, you had to buy the license for the new version or keep using the old one. You can still do this and get Office 2016 but Microsoft keeps hinting they may discontinue that for Office 365.
Office 365 uses a subscription based model. This means that you will pay an amount to Microsoft each month to use the software, as we do with newspaper and magazine subscriptions. In return Microsoft makes it available to access from where ever on the Internet, you just log in, and also Microsoft continuously updates it and you are always using the latest version of Office.
Office 365 will also let you download and install the products on your computer and these will update also. Some people need this as they cannot depend on having a good Internet connection.
Office 365 seems to being received well by lots of people, but there is also a large group I encounter who say a one time payment is feasible but not monthly payments. Many organizations are trying to move the software they sell (well realty sell licenses) to a subscription model. Some predict this is the future of software. I saw a move 20 years ago to try to do the same and it flopped. We will see what happens this time. The fact almost everyone has an Internet connection with their computer now, and did not then, may be a difference maker.