Microsoft just brought back its best deal ever

Once in a while, Microsoft decides to release the “Work & Play Bundle,” a collection of one-year subscriptions to its best services at a steep discount.

As of today, and for a limited time, the Work & Play Bundle is back.

And for $US149, you get a lot of good stuff, including subscriptions to Xbox Live and Office 365. Think of it as your gateway drug to the new Microsoft.

Here’s the full breakdown of the year-long subscriptions included, per the Microsoft Store listing:

  • Office 365 Home, which lets you put Microsoft Word, Excel, Powerpoint, and the other Office apps on as many as 5 PCs or Macs and 5 tablets, plus a terabyte of OneDrive storage to keep all your documents.
  • Xbox Live Gold, the premium plan for Microsoft’s games service on Windows and Xbox 360/Xbox One.
  • Skype Wi-Fi, which lets your Windows device connect to certain Microsoft-sponsored paid wireless Internet hotspots at airports, hotels, and more.
  • Unlimited phone calls around the globe with Skype.
  • Assure Support Plan, Microsoft’s paid customer service plan, which lets you get unlimited support for your Windows PC or tablet on the phone, online, or at the Microsoft Store’s excellent answer desk.
  • A $US60 credit, good at either the Windows Store app market or the Xbox consoles’ game store.

Given that Xbox Live Gold is a $US60 annual subscription, and Office 365 is $US99, that’s a $US10 savings just between those two. Add in that $US60 credit, and it seems like a no-brainer for Xbox gamers.

If you love Microsoft, it’s a heck of a deal. And if you have any of these subscriptions already, it just adds a year onto whatever you already have.

It also happens to be the perfect representation of Microsoft’s master plan: Pay a subscription fee, and get access to Microsoft’s whole entire cross-device ecosystem of services.

For instance, an Office 365 subscription gets you full access to all of Microsoft’s apps for the iPhone and Android, including the funky experimental ones. That Skype calling credit works across mobile devices and Macs, too. And Xbox Live is Microsoft’s gateway drug into gaming across both Windows and the Xbox.

Microsoft storeMatt WeinbergerMicrosoft Store

So it’s possible to get a lot of value out of this bundle even if you don’t own a single Windows PC. And if you do happen to have one, well, even better.

But just like this bundle won’t always be around, Microsoft is hoping that once you try its services, you’ll stick around, and keep pouring money in.

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