April 21st, 2020 marked the first day of a change to Microsoft's product naming conventions. When Office 365 launched in 2011, it was the Halo product for Microsoft, it gave organisations a simple but powerful way to start realising the benefits of the cloud and help revolutionised workplaces by providing on-line digital tools to enable modern, mobile collaboration between staff.
This signals a change of approach for Microsoft as they now focus on the Microsoft 365 suite hoping that customers will do the same.
For now it is important to mention that the features and costs for each plan will not change, and while these changes are in name only, they represent a larger shift in Microsoft’s approach to transforming Office beyond the apps that most of us know and love.
When Microsoft 365 launched it was the top-tier product which included other benefits above a standard Office 365 subscription. In addition, a Microsoft 365 subscription included a license for Windows 10 and EM+S (Enterprise Management and Security) to bring security and management features into one subscription.
Here's what has changed:
N.B. Please note that Windows 10 Enterprise licensing is still included as part of the Microsoft 365 E3, E5 and F1 subscriptions by default.
The ‘World’s Productivity Cloud’, as Microsoft 365 is becoming known, is shifting the landscape, to reveal an ability to cater for a much broader spectrum of use cases. This includes data security, analytics, project management and a powerful communication platform that now dominates the market surpassing the likes of its competitors, Slack and Discord, remarkably quickly.
Microsoft Q+A Questions:
Q. Why are you making these changes?
A. First, we want our products to reflect the range of features and benefits in the subscription. Microsoft 365 is an integrated set of apps and services that puts AI and other cutting-edge innovations to work for you. And for small and medium-sized businesses, that includes new capabilities in Microsoft Teams to help you host rich meetings and events online; cloud file storage and sharing capabilities so you can collaborate from anywhere; and security and identity solutions to safeguard your businesses. Second, we’re always looking for ways to simplify. This new approach to naming our products is designed to help you quickly find the plan you need and get back to your business.
Q. How does Office fit into Microsoft 365? Will I still be able to use Word, Excel, and PowerPoint?
A. The Office suite is core to the Microsoft productivity experience, and that’s not changing. But over the last several years, our cloud productivity offering has grown well beyond what people traditionally think of as ‘Office’. Word, Excel, and PowerPoint are more important than ever before. But in Microsoft 365 we’re breathing new life into these apps with the help of the cloud and AI, and we’re adding new, born-in-the-cloud experiences like Teams, Stream, Forms, and Planner. All of this is underpinned by a set of common services that keep your data safe and secure. It’s Office and a whole lot more.
Q. Is there anything new or different in Microsoft 365 Apps for business or Microsoft 365 Apps for enterprise plans that wasn’t in Office 365 Business or Office 365 ProPlus plans? Any new features?
A. There are no price or feature changes to plans at this time.
Q. When will the Microsoft 365 Business and Microsoft 365 Apps for enterprise plans be available?
A. All plans will become available for customers on April 21, 2020.
Q. Are all of the Office 365 plans going away? What isn’t changing?
A. None of the plans are going away. The same plans are available, only with updated names. And in the case of Office 365 Enterprise, the name will remain the same and there will be no changes.
Q. I’m an existing SMB or ProPlus customer. Do I need to take any action?
A. Customers with the Office 365 Business, Office 365 Business Essentials, Office 365 Business Premium, or Microsoft 365 Business plans do not need to take additional action. The above changes will happen automatically.
Q. My company uses Office 365 ProPlus, and I have questions about this change. Where can I learn more?
A. Contact your Account Manager