On April 21, Microsoft rebranded its cloud productivity suite Office 365 to Microsoft 365. The new name highlights Microsoft’s goal to create a streamlined productivity platform while eliminating the confusion around their many products. Customers in the past often had a hard time distinguishing between the different cloud subscription services. For instance, the premium cloud package was called Microsoft 365 Business, while Microsoft’s mid-tier cloud service was called Office 365 Business Premium.
With new and more straightforward product names for Microsoft, Australian business owners will have an easier time choosing the right subscription.
What’s more, although Microsoft Office apps like Word and Excel are core features, Microsoft services are constantly evolving. The company adds dozens of new capabilities and apps, so a name change seemed appropriate.
Did prices change?
Microsoft 365 subscriptions are fundamentally the same as the old Office 365 packages. There are no price changes, so current subscribers don’t need to worry. If you had an Office 365 subscription before April 21, you’ll still have the same features but with a different name.
What are the new subscription packages called?
There are four business-oriented subscription packages for Microsoft 365. The first package available is called Microsoft 365 Business Basic (formerly known as Office 365 Business Essentials). For approximately $7 per user per month*, businesses get only online versions of popular productivity apps like Word, Excel, and PowerPoint. Users also gain access to cloud services like Microsoft Exchange, SharePoint, OneDrive, and Teams.
Microsoft 365 Business Standard (previously called Office 365 Business Premium) is the mid-tier package, priced at approximately $18 per user per month*. The subscription includes both web and desktop versions of Microsoft’s productivity apps, and all cloud services available in Microsoft 365 Business Basic.
The top-level package is Microsoft 365 Business Premium (formerly called Microsoft 365 Business). At approximately $28 per user per month*, Business Premium offers all the features of the previous two packages, but also integrates security features. Subscribers get advanced threat protection, access management, email security, and mobile and PC device management.
The fourth subscription package is Microsoft 365 Apps for business, which costs approximately $12 per user per month*. This package comes with desktop-only versions of Microsoft Office apps that can be installed on up to five mobile devices and PCs per license. It also provides cloud file storage, but it does not include Microsoft Teams and business email.
Is there anything new with Microsoft 365?
Most of the features Office 365 users enjoyed remain untouched in Microsoft 365. However, there are new capabilities being added to help current subscribers work efficiently.
Microsoft Editor enhancements
Microsoft Editor is an AI-powered feature that’s available across Microsoft products. While many are familiar with Microsoft’s built-in spelling and grammar checker, Editor goes a step further. It examines every aspect of your writing and checks for things like style, tone, and flow. Then based on context clues you can ask Editor to provide suggestions to improve your writing’s clarity, brevity, and formality. It even accounts for things like geographical references, culture-specific expressions, and unclear acronyms.
Additionally, Microsoft Editor comes with a plagiarism checker to ensure you’re properly paraphrasing or citing someone else’s work. This is particularly helpful if you’re writing research papers, articles, public press statements, or blogs.
PowerPoint Presenter Coach
The PowerPoint Presenter Coach is a tool said to be released later in the year. According to Microsoft, the tool listens in on your rehearsal and gives real-time feedback on your presentation. It may alert you when you are speaking too fast, not articulating your words, or using filler words such as ‘like’ or ‘um’. The Presenter Coach will also provide suggestions to help you express ideas more concisely.
Microsoft Teams upgrades
Microsoft Teams got two notable improvements. Users are now able to share system audio in a Teams meeting and live event, allowing you to stream videos to participants. The other improvement gives you access to channel metrics like active users, posts, replies, and meetings. This gives you meaningful insights into how employees are collaborating and using their time.
AI-enabled design tools
Another interesting addition is the AI-assisted design feature in Microsoft Office apps. The feature works by taking a look at your file and providing appropriate design suggestions to liven up your work. Depending on the document, it may suggest customisable templates, licensed stock images and videos, icons, and new fonts.
These new features merely scratch the surface of Microsoft 365’s capabilities. Every time there’s a new update, Microsoft is already looking forward to the next innovation. So if you want to stay on top of the most recent changes and developments, Empower IT can keep you up to date. We’re a leading Australian managed IT services provider that offers the latest Microsoft 365 services. Give us a call to learn more!
*Pricing is adjusted quarterly by Microsoft based on the foreign exchange rate.