Microsoft’s Office is a world-wide standard. It is a combination of several products that many of you use. Some much more than others. Most packages include at the least Word, Excel, and PowerPoint.
Microsoft Office is offered in a variety of combinations varying greatly in price.
The latest versions — 365 and 2013 are much more expensive. 365 is a rental arrangement.
Older versions work just fine. Many people are still using the 2000, 2002 (XP), 2003, 2007 or 2010 versions. Very few people can recognize any functional difference.
The 2007 version onwards incorporated a different user interface which confuses many people.
Microsoft no longer provides security updates for versions before 2003 and that will end April, 2014 when XP support ends.
There are alternatives to Microsoft products. Some are free and work just as well for most people.