Threesy-does it as Microsoft revamps Office 365 SMB plans

Microsoft will release three new Office 365 plans on October 1, tailored to meet the needs of small and mid-sized businesses, ranging from 1 to approximately 250 employees.

Following the release of Redmond’s Office 365 for business public roadmap late last month, the tech giant has continued its effort in the market by evolving its SMB plans.

“This new lineup reflects the feedback we’ve received from SMB customers about how they want to get started and grow with Office 365,” adds Kirk Gregersen, general manager, Office Marketing Group, Microsoft.

The new plans are:

• Office 365 Business – The full Office applications – Outlook, Word, Excel, PowerPoint, OneNote and Publisher, with 1TB of OneDrive for Business cloud storage to access, edit and share your documents across your Windows PC, Mac, iPad, Windows tablet and smartphone.

• Office 365 Business Essentials – The core cloud services for running your business – business class email and calendaring, Office Online, online meetings, IM, video conferencing, cloud storage and file sharing and much more.

• Office 365 Business Premium – Get everything from both the Office 365 Business and Business Essentials plans.

“The new value isn’t just for our new customers,” Gregersen adds. “Starting on October 1, 2014, we will be making changes for existing customers to bring them some of the new plan benefits before they move.”

As a result, Small Business and Small Business Premium customers will see their seat cap raise from 25 to 300 while Midsize Business customers (whose seat cap is already 300), will see their price be reduced from $15/user/month to $12.5/user/month.

As an existing customer, Microsoft says this price reduction will be realised upon renewal, while the new Midsize Business customers will be able to take advantage of this reduced price starting August 1, 2014.

What does this mean for current plans?

According to Gregersen, this new lineup will replace Microsoft’s current plans for SMBs over time – Small Business, Small Business Premium and Midsize Business.

The company’s policy is to provide 12 months’ notice for any changes to a customer’s core subscription, therefore existing customers require no action to take regarding their Office 365 subscription until their first renewal after October 1, 2015.

Until customers renew to one of the new plans, Microsoft says they will continue to receive all the benefits of Office 365 – including any feature and security updates (e.g. admin centre updates, new suite navigation) and any new services (e.g. adding Yammer to Midsize Business, increase in OneDrive for Business storage) Microsoft releases that are relevant to their subscription.

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