Microsoft has announced that it is set to transition some users away from its Office 365 subscription service to one branded Microsoft 365. That’s despite there being no difference between the two other than the branding.
While the Microsoft 365 branding used to denote a subscription that included Office 365, Windows 10 Enterprise, and Enterprise Mobility + Security, the newly transitioned users won’t automatically get these benefits. Instead, Microsoft has created new levels of its Microsoft 365 subscription, offering identical features to what users enjoyed under the old Office 365 branding.
Plans affected by the transition include:
- Office 365 Business Essentials, which will be rebranded as Microsoft 365 Business Basic
- Office 365 Business Premium, which will be rebranded Microsoft 365 Business Standard
- Office 365 Business and Office 365 Pro Plus, which will be called Microsoft 365 Apps, with Microsoft using "for business" and "for enterprise" as labels to distinguish the two where necessary.
The company is keen to reiterate that it’s basically business as usual for users, except for the name change, which will take effect on April 21, 2020. That means users will also continue to pay the same price under the new brand.
Microsoft notes that the reason behind the change is because Office 365 has extended way beyond simply offering the Office suite of programs. No longer is a subscription just about getting access to Word, Excel, Outlook and PowerPoint, but now users can take advantage of Microsoft Teams, Stream, Forms and Planner, along with new cloud features that have enhanced Office itself over the years.
Alongside the branding change for business customers, Microsoft is targeting consumers, with the firm already confirming that a consumer version of Microsoft Teams will be available in the near future. The firm will also launch a new Microsoft Family Safety app which allows families to share their location and manage screen time across multiple devices.