Microsoft today is launching the next major wave of its Office productivity solutions with the immediate availability of Office 2013 and Office 365 Home Premium, the latter of which provides a single Office license for an entire household. With aggressive pricing, Office 365 Home Premium also provides additional benefits, such as extra SkyDrive storage, Skype world calling minutes, and free upgrades for the lifetime of the subscription.

Related: First impressions of Outlook 2013 Preview

“Today’s launch of Office 365 Home Premium marks the next big step in Microsoft’s transformation to a devices and services business,” Microsoft CEO Steve Ballmer says. “This is so much more than just another release of Office. This is Office reinvented as a consumer cloud service with all the full-featured Office applications people know and love, together with impressive new cloud and social benefits.”

Available in 162 markets and 21 different languages, Office 365 Home Premium costs $99.99 per year, or a bit over $8 per month, and allows for up to five installs of a full Office suite—which includes Word, Excel, PowerPoint, OneNote, Outlook, Publisher, and Access 2013 on Windows—on Windows PCs and tablets, and Macs. (Other devices will be included in the future, Microsoft notes.) Subscribers can also take advantage of Office On Demand, which provides streaming access to any Office 2013 application from any PC, an additional 20GB of SkyDrive cloud storage, 60 minutes of Skype world calling per month, and access to all future upgrades.

And that later benefit is tied to more frequent upgrades than was the case with Office suites in the past: Microsoft says it intends to update the product far more frequently now, and more like an online service. In the past, Office was updated about once every three years.

An Office 365 University offering aimed at college students should prove particularly compelling. This is a four-year subscription that costs only $79.99. That works out to just $1.67 per month over the lifetime of the subscription.

Of course, not all users will be interested in purchasing a subscription. For this reason, Microsoft is also making Office products available for sale in traditional ways, though it should be noted that the pricing is tilted in favor of subscriptions. For example, Office Home & Student 2013 is available at retail in what Microsoft calls a traditional perpetual license, but it only provides one PC install this time, not three as with previous versions. Other Office versions, such as Home & Business 2013 and Professional are also available.

Microsoft also revealed that it is revamping its Office.com website, and remaking it into a portal for managing Office 365 Home Premium subscriptions. Customers can visit Office.com, sign up for, manage, and provision Office 365 Home Premium, access new Office apps from the Office App Store, and browse the traditional support, tips and tricks, images and templates, and other content that was the focus of the site previously.

My review of Office 365 Home Premium will be available today on the SuperSite for Windows, and I’ll be ramping up my article series about Office 2013 going forward.

You can learn more about Office 365 Home Premium or try it free for 30 days at Office.com.

Learn more: "Microsoft's Cloud Future: Maker of Devices and Services"