Due to changes in technology and the increased competition from the likes of Google, Microsoft created the Office 365, which allows users to access Office from the web. In an effort to continue to profit from Microsoft Office, this access requires a monthly fee in order to continue to use the service.
One of the major problems with the Office 365 service was the fact that it wasn’t cost effective for small and medium sized businesses. While it was perfect for personal use, and large enterprises found it an attractive alternative to purchasing expensive licenses, small and medium sized businesses were left out in the cold or forced to purchase the more expensive enterprise subscriptions. Because of this, many businesses simply stuck with the old model and have been slow to change.
In an effort to attract these business, Microsoft has released new subscription plans tailored for the small or medium sized business.
New Business Plans
In order to woo small and medium sized businesses, Microsoft has added the following plans to its Office 365 subscriptions. All of these plans are designed to fit the needs of companies with 300 users or less.
Office 365 Business Essentials
Cost: $5.00 per user per month with a one year subscription/$6.00 per user with a monthly subscription.
While giving you full access to the online versions of Office including Word, Excel, Powerpoint and Outlook, it does not give you access to the mobile versions of Office on your smartphone or tablet but is perfect for a business looking to move to the cloud without spending a fortune.
Office 365 Business
Cost: $8.25 per user per month with a one year subscription/$10.00 per user with a monthly subscription.
One of the best deals of the packages, this package gives you full access to the cloud based versions of Office as well as installable versions for your local machines. This package also allows you to use the mobile versions of the Office package so you and your employees can work no matter where you may be. It does not, however, include the business class email services, requiring you to seek out other suppliers for your business’ email needs.
Office 365 Business Premium
Cost: $12.50 per user per month with a one year subscription/$15.00 per user with a monthly subscription.
The most feature rich of all the packages, the Business Premium package gives you access to both the local installations and web based versions of the software with cloud storage to go with it. Also included is the business class email services as well as the mobile versions of Office 365 so you can access Microsoft from anywhere.
These new plans are available to all new customers who meet the requirements and you can easily sign up your company with just a few simple clicks. However, if you are an existing small or medium sized business already paying the higher enterprise rates and you have a contract, you will have to wait until your contract is up for renewal to change your plan.
While these new plans are welcome news to small and medium sized businesses everywhere, the eligibility limitations at this time will most likely frustrate many business who currently already have a contract with Microsoft.
Microsoft Office 365 is a great way to gain access to Office from anywhere in the world and the perfect way to use office right from your Mac, PC, smartphone or tablet. Many businesses have been slow to adopt this new model simply because there were no plans that were a good fit for the size of their business. With these new plans, Microsoft hopes to coax more businesses into adopting this new model for their software as well as to entice them to move more and more of their business to Microsoft’s cloud based storage solutions.
These new plans will undoubtedly convince some businesses to convert, but it remains to be seen how many will alter their existing model of infrastructure with software licenses for each of their systems. Microsoft, however, is betting on the fact that more and more companies will shift their business towards a more cloud oriented model and to that end are now offering a wider range of subscription plans for Office 365 that are perfect for any business regardless of its size.