Our 20 Best of 2020 series continues with this big tech news story from April. COVID-19 affected everything this year, including corporate decisions on products. Microsoft was moving in the direction of rebranding Office 365 to Microsoft 365, but with so many people using the office suite for remote work, the decision was no doubt speeded up. In his analysis of the move, Sukesh Mudrakola nicely recaps what has changed and what it means to businesses.
Microsoft has rebranded various Office 365 product lineups as Microsoft 365. The company also announced a new set of personal and family subscriptions for individuals under the new Microsoft 365 name. Microsoft 365 personal and family subscriptions are the company’s very first consumer offerings. According to Microsoft, all Office 365 subscriptions for small and medium-sized businesses and the Office 365 ProPlus will use the new Microsoft 365 branding.
Why the change? According to Jared Spataro, corporate vice president for Microsoft 365, this rebranding represents Microsoft’s vision for the future of productivity tools. The new service will cost the same but is going to pack some new features and services. Microsoft intends to provide solutions not just for enterprises but also for individuals to help us in everyday lives. And this rebranding aligns Microsoft’s vision to “help people and businesses throughout the world realize their full potential,” Spataro says.
New product names
Here is the detailed list of products that are now rebranded as Microsoft 365. The company has made it clear that the change is confined to the name only and there is no change in price and feature as of now. However, as mentioned above, Microsoft has plans to introduce a bunch of new features to Microsoft 365’s lineup soon.
Office 365 Business Essentials is now Microsoft 365 Business Basic and the Office 365 Business Premium has been rebranded as Microsoft 365 Business Standard. Microsoft 365 Business is now called Microsoft 365 Business Premium. And finally, both Office 365 Business and Office 365 ProPlus are now Microsoft 365 Apps.
Microsoft also announced that it will continue to follow the same naming conventions to differentiate its products based on the target audience. For instance, they will continue to use “for business” or “for enterprise” labels wherever necessary to distinguish between the two.
Microsoft 365 personal and family subscriptions
Now that so many people have started to adapt to working remotely due to the ongoing COVID-19 pandemic, Microsoft believes that staying connected is more important than ever. Microsoft announced a whole set of features, products, services, and tools for every individual to help them connect, learn, and achieve more at home.
Microsoft 365 Family and Personal subscriptions are priced at $6.99 monthly or $69 annually for a single user. However, it is just $9.99 monthly or $99 annually for a family subscription of up to six people. This subscription includes all the Microsoft Office apps including Word, PowerPoint, Excel, and more along with all the upcoming new features and apps.
It also offers 1TB of cloud storage space per person or 6TB of storage for a family plan, with each user limited to 1TB. It also includes Microsoft’s two new consumer apps called Microsoft Family Safety and Microsoft Teams for consumers. While both these apps are already available in some Microsoft subscriptions, they are now loaded with new features. More information about this new subscription package can be seen here.
Microsoft Family Safety
This app allows users to share their location with family members for safety. This location can be live-tracked by family members or can be set to trigger when they arrive at a predetermined location. It also provides parental controls across various Microsoft products and services including Windows 10, Xbox, and Android.
Microsoft Teams for consumers is a stripped-down version of the enterprise Microsoft Teams, which brings the enterprise communication tool home for family and friends. It comes with group chat feature along with group video calling. It also allows sharing media, making and sharing schedules, events, and more. All these features make it an ideal tool for family events, get-togethers, and sporting events.
More about Microsoft 365
Microsoft 365 is an integrated set of apps and services that uses powerful and advanced AI along with other latest technologies to work for consumers. Microsoft 365 has various editions, making it ideal for individuals and households, small and medium-sized businesses, and enterprises. The company also announced that it is working on rolling out various new features along with better security.
At the virtual event, Microsoft announced its new and updated Microsoft Editor, which is now available in over 20 languages. For the uninitiated, Microsoft Editor is an AI-powered word editor that can perform grammar checks, suggest advanced grammar styles, and more.
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