13 July 2014

Microsoft introduces new Office 365 plans for SMBs

Microsoft has announced three new Office 365 plans tailored for small and mid-sized businesses (SMBs) ranging from 1 to approximately 250 employees, to be available on October 1, 2014.

The new plans are:

  • Office 365 Business – The full Office applications – Outlook, Word, Excel, PowerPoint, OneNote and Publisher, with 1TB of OneDrive for Business cloud storage to access, edit and share your documents across your Windows PC, Mac, iPad, Windows tablet and smartphone. 
  • Office 365 Business Essentials – The core cloud services for running your business – business class email and calendaring, Office Online, online meetings, IM, video conferencing, cloud storage and file sharing and much more. 
  • Office 365 Business Premium – Everything from both the Office 365 Business and Business Essentials plans. 

The new plans will replace Microsoft's current plans for SMBs over time – Small Business, Small Business Premium and Midsize Business, while the current Enterprise plans will remain the same.

"This new lineup reflects the feedback we’ve received from SMB customers about how they want to get started and grow with Office 365," says blog author Kirk Gregersen in the blog post

The new plans provide the following benefits: 

Choice: The Office 365 Business plan (US$8.25/user/month) makes it simple to get just the familiar, full Office apps at a great price – always up to date and available on all of the subscriber's devices including your PC, Mac, iPad and smartphone. The included 1TB of cloud storage makes it easy to access and edit important files from anywhere. 

Value: Business Premium includes Midsize Business’ services at the Small Business Premium price of US$12.50 user/month. Business Essentials matches Small Business on price (US$5/user/month) with improved features and additional services like Yammer and Active Directory support. There is a higher seat limit of 300. 

Flexibility: The plans allow moving a company or just specific users to an Enterprise plan, a different Business plan, or to add solutions like Project, Visio, Dynamics CRM Online.

Existing customers do not have to take any action until their first renewal after October 1, 2015. They will still receive some of the new benefits starting October 1, 2014. "Small Business and Small Business Premium customers will see their seat cap raise from 25 to 300 while Midsize Business customers (whose seat cap is already 300), will see their price be reduced from US$15/user/month to US$12.50/user/month. New Midsize Business customers will be able to take advantage of this reduced price starting August 1, 2014.

Source: Microsoft blog site.

After that date, subscribers will need to select one of the new plans at their next renewal date. Microsoft recommends that most customers continue using their current plans as they do today and move to the similar new plan at their first renewal after October 1, 2015.

"With the matching updates for our existing plans, only a small number of customers with very specific needs would realise value from moving plans before October 1, 2015," said Gregersen. "Some customers will be unable to opt-in and move to the new plans immediately at launch. We are delivering an update for these customers to enable them to move to the new subscriptions by October 1, 2015."

Learn more about Microsoft's existing plans on Office.com.

*All prices in the blog are listed at Estimated Retail Price per user per month, in US dollars with annual commitment. Local prices may vary.