Microsoft is shaking things up with their Office 365 offerings. In a blog post released July 9th, Microsoft announced that they will be offering three new bundles for small and medium businesses. The bundles will be labelled “Business,” “Business Essentials,” and “Business Premium.” Each of these plans have a limit of 300 users. Here is a summary of what is included and the expected prices for each:
- Business: $8.25 per month. This bundle basically includes Office and one terabyte of cloud storage.
- Business Essentials: $5 per month. This bundle basically includes Exchange, Lync, SharePoint, and Yammer, plus one terabyte of cloud storage.
- Business Premium: $12.50 per month. This bundle includes everything in the Business and Business Essentials bundles.
These bundles are scheduled to be released on October 1, 2014. Eventually they will replace the SMB plans that Microsoft is currently offering (“Small Business,” “Small Business Premium,” and “Midsize Business”). If you currently have one of the SMB plans, you will be bumped to the new plan at your next renewal.
The following chart from the Microsoft blog post helps explain the differences:
For more information on the upcoming changes, read the Microsoft blog post. You can also read the analysis of other industry watchers here, here, and here. Basically everyone agrees that these changes are for the better. Customers are getting better value for less money. At least one analyst thinks that Microsoft made these changes to better compete with Google in the SMB space. Whatever the reason, this is one more reason to jump on the bandwagon of “Software as a Service” and subscribe to Office 365 during your next company-wide upgrade.