Microsoft is rolling out new Office 365 plans for companies with fewer than 250 employees that will slowly replace the company’s existing plans for small and midsize businesses. The company had already outlined some of these changes earlier this year, so this week’s announcement doesn’t come as a huge surprise.
Here is what these new plans look like:
- Office 365 Business ($8.25/user/month with an annual commitment, $10 without): this plan includes the core Office apps (Outlook, Word, Excel, PowerPoint, as well as OneNote and Publisher), which can be installed on up to 5 PCs. It also features access to Office for tablets and smartphones, as well as support for the online versions of the Office apps and OneDrive for Business cloud storage.
- Office 365 Business Essentials ($5/user/month with an annual commitment, $6 without): This is the most basic version of Microsoft’s new plans. It does not include the desktop apps (online the web-based versions), but in return, it offers access to online services like Exchange, SharePoint and Lync.
- Office 365 Business Premium ($12.50/user/month with an annual commitment, $15 without): This plans combines all the features of the Business and Business Essentials plans. Nothing more, nothing less.
Companies that sign up for Office 365 will now get access to these plans. Businesses that already subscribed to Microsoft’s SMB plans before will have to wait until their subscriptions are up for renewal to switch to the new plans (and they can still stay on their existing plans for longer, too). The older Small Business and Small Business Premium plans were also capped at 25 employees, which meant midsized companies had to subscribe to Microsoft’s costlier enterprise plans if they wanted to use Office 365 and didn’t need all the features of the old Midsize Business plan (the equivalent of the new Business Premium offering).
Overall, Microsoft clearly priced these new plans to be highly attractive to small enterprises. Google offers $5/user/month and $10/user/month plans for its Apps for Business service, but many companies still prefer to use the more familiar (and arguably more powerful) Office apps instead.