They’ve been building up to it for a while, and now Microsoft is finally ready to make Windows as a whole into a subscription. Don’t worry if you’re a home user, though — Microsoft’s not going to be hounding you for monthly shakedowns. The new Microsoft 365 packages are made for businesses, combining Microsoft’s many enterprise features into one package.
Microsoft 365 takes its name in part from Office 365, the subscription model for Microsoft’s Office suite of productivity software. Microsoft 365 will include Office 365, but it’ll add security and management features, along with professional versions of Windows 10. Ultimately, it’s an entire software platform that can sustain an entire company, encompassing productivity software, communications, IT management, cloud storage, and security features. While all of those things will still be offered separately for now, Microsoft seems keen on getting business customers to come to them for everything.
They’re out for the business of all businesses, regardless of size. They’ve split Microsoft 365 up into enterprise and business editions — the former for large businesses, the latter for small and medium businesses. Enterprise includes everything from Office 365 Enterprise and Windows 10 Enterprise, plus mobility and security features, to make it easy for many employees to collaborate and for IT staffs to manage massive employee numbers. The business edition picks out certain enterprise and security features while leaving out the large-scale features.
Microsoft hopes to sweeten the pot with a set of new Office 365 Business programs. Microsoft Connections can be used to manage email marketing campaigns, while Microsoft Listings can help organize sales campaigns on a number of sites. Microsoft Invoicing can help make sure clients and freelancers get paid, and MileIQ (now part of Office 365 Business Premium) will help streamline the process of reimbursing employees for gas.
The smaller Microsoft 365 Business package will be available as a public preview on August 2 and will be available for $20 per month per user when it launches in the fall. Microsoft 365 Enterprise, which will be available in two packages, will launch on August 1, with pricing likely varying with the needs of the organization.