Microsoft on Wednesday announced the immediate availability of its second-generation Office 365 subscriptions for businesses. This expanded set of offerings targets businesses of all sizes and provides updated versions of Exchange Online, SharePoint Online, Lync Online, the Office Web Apps, and—in many of the subscriptions—the locally installed Office Professional Plus 2013 productivity suite.
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“With Office 365, everyone from large enterprises to small businesses to individual consumers can now benefit from the power of Office and the connectivity of the cloud,” Microsoft Office Division President Kurt DelBene says. “This release unlocks new scenarios and delivers capabilities that far surpass anything available in browser-only solutions.”
Microsoft first launched Office 365 in June 2011, offering two subscription services, Office 365 for Professional and Small Businesses and Office 365 for Midsized Businesses and Enterprises, with prices starting at $6 per user per month. With this generational update, Office 365 is changing pretty dramatically, however, offering new subscription types—including the previously released Office 365 Home Premium, aimed at households and individuals—as well as a friendlier new licensing model.
Existing Office 365 subscribers can begin upgrading to the new versions today, or they can push back the upgrade for up to 12 months and do so on their own schedule. My review of the new Office 365 for businesses, available on Windows IT Pro soon, describes this and other aspects of the offerings. But new targeted Office 365 versions will be of particular interest:
Office 365 Small Business Premium. This new offering is aimed at small businesses with 1 to 10 employees and no IT staff. Pricing is $150 per user per year, or about $12.50 per user per month.
Office 365 Midsized Business. This new offering is designed for medium-sized businesses with 10 to 250 employees and dedicated IT staff. It provides the full Office Professional Plus 2013 suite of applications, simplified IT tools, Active Directory (AD) integration, a web-based administration console, and phone support.
Office 365 Professional Plus (ProPlus). This cloud-installable version of Office 2013 uses Microsoft’s App-V-based Click-to-Run technologies to blast the suite onto users’ PCs in just minutes while maintaining the full deployment and management capabilities of previous-generation, MSI-based Office installs. It includes Word, Excel, PowerPoint, OneNote, Outlook, Publisher, InfoPath, Access, and Lync, and is licensed for use on as many as five PCs/devices (currently Windows devices and Macs). Included with many Office 365 subscriptions, Office 365 ProPlus is also available as a standalone offering for $144 per user per year.
With today’s launch, the new Office and Office 365 products and services are fully available, Microsoft says. The new Office 365 services are available today in 69 markets and 17 languages, with an additional 20 markets and 16 languages coming in the second quarter.
You can find out more about the Office 365 offerings for business at the Office website.
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