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The Microsoft Office 365 Rebrand, Explained

By: Jake Schulte, IT Manager

Late last month, Microsoft unveiled the rebrand of their subscription service, Office 365. Now called Microsoft 365, there’s no price or service change associated with the new brand, but subscription packages also received new names. The new branding simplifies the catalog of product options for individual consumers and businesses, with better descriptions of their features.

The Office suite applications themselves are also not changing –for example, you won’t notice any difference when you open Microsoft Word. Microsoft is simply renaming their packages of program offerings to bring them in line with the types of features they provide, and to help customers determine which subscription is the right choice.

The history of 365s

Office 365 launched in June 2011, replete with the applications that are central to the brand’s identity – Word, Excel, PowerPoint, Outlook, and more.

In 2017, Microsoft launched Microsoft 365, designed for use by large enterprise companies, generally employing over 250 people. Over time, Microsoft 365 evolved to accommodate the needs of small and medium-sized businesses. The software as a service program now includes capabilities to host meetings online in Microsoft Teams, store files in the cloud, easily access information remotely, and protect data with innovative security solutions.

All these features are crucial components for businesses under the “enterprise” threshold, so as Microsoft’s product line has evolved, so too has their packaging of those products to make it easier for budding businesses to best select their subscription.

What’s in a name?

The new names for subscription packages include:

  • Office 365 Business Essentials is now Microsoft 365 Business Basic.
  • Office 365 Business Premium is now Microsoft 365 Business Standard.
  • Microsoft 365 Business is now Microsoft 365 Business Premium.
  • Office 365 Business and Office 365 ProPlus are now both Microsoft 365 Apps.

The features once labeled as “premium” are now considered part of the standard product line Microsoft provides. “Premium” is reserved for businesses requiring a higher level of intricacy or access from their subscription, making it easier for new and prospective subscribers to select the arrangement that best serves their needs.

What differences will users see?

Current users of 365 subscriptions will only see a difference in what’s listed on their invoice – the name of the package of features they receive. The price of the subscription and the features themselves won’t change. This may, however, invite an opportunity for current subscribers to look at what their package offers and determine if it’s still the right fit for them.

Evolution from a software program to a productivity suite

With the rebrand, Microsoft is officially naming the expansion of the role it’s already started occupying in the function of the businesses that subscribe to its services.  Microsoft is confidently promoting the Microsoft 365 line as “the world’s productivity cloud” and moving away from the mindset that 365 is only the applications we recognize. It’s also an email server, a file-sharing service, an online meeting hub, and more.

This shift also makes it easier for users to grow into their product line, with a clear path forward for customers seeking to upgrade the features of their package.

For example, if you begin by only needing Outlook to access email stored on a Microsoft exchange server, there’s a product for that. As your business grows, you may find you have an increased need for sharing files across multiple computers in different locations; there’s a package that can accommodate both needs, one step up the ladder. With the rebrand, its name better reflects what it has to offer.

As Microsoft shared when announcing the rebrand, “these changes represent our ambition to continue to drive innovation in Microsoft 365 that goes well beyond what customers traditionally think of as Office.”

Networks Plus can help you manage Microsoft 365

A Microsoft 365 subscription is a great choice for any business seeking to increase productivity. Networks Plus is a proud Microsoft partner, and helps businesses of all sizes set up their Microsoft 365 suites. We provide subscription options on a monthly basis, help with full implementation of the suite, and ensure the products are working.

We also provide a third-party backup service, another fail-safe in addition to the redundancies Microsoft has in place to prevent unintended loss of data: files, emails, contacts, and other vital business information. Microsoft can protect against data loss to an extent, but for user-end error such as deletion or corruption of files or contacts, data recovery is more difficult without additional backup measures in place.

Networks Plus is the partner you need to keep your business productive and secure. Call to find out how we can help you.

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