Microsoft Price and Feature Changes – Are You Prepared?

Microsoft Price and Feature Changes - Are You Prepared?

There is an upcoming price increase for some of Microsoft 365 commercial products that will affect IT budgets in 2022. To better understand the effect of this impending increase, let’s take a deeper dive into Microsoft’s products that are affected.

In 2011, Microsoft began offering their Microsoft Office productivity suite, which included Word, Excel, PowerPoint, Outlook, and more, as a subscription-based service they called Office 365. Benefits of Office 365 included additional storage and collaboration features via the cloud, as well as access to the latest features, patches, and security updates. Over the last decade, they have grown this SaaS (Software-as-a-Service) product by adding apps and features.

In 2017, Microsoft bundled Office 365, Windows 10 Enterprise licenses, and some cloud services for security and device management, calling it Microsoft 365. Then in 2020, Microsoft rebranded all its services, to Microsoft 365, to “be more reflective of the range of features and benefits in the subscription” according to Microsoft.com. Though to be clear, they still offer Office 365 licenses. For enterprises they offer Office 365 E1, Office 365 E3, and Office 365 E5, in addition to various Microsoft 365 licenses. For current comparison tables of Microsoft 365 and Office 365 plans for enterprise, education, government, nonprofit, and frontline workers, visit https://www.microsoft.com/en-us/microsoft-365/enterprise/compare-office-365-plans. 

In August 2021, Microsoft announced that their pricing for some of its Office 365 and Microsoft 365 commercial products will be increasing (https://www.microsoft.com/en-us/microsoft-365/blog/2021/08/19/new-pricing-for-Microsoft-365/). It should be noted that this is their first substantial increase to Office 365 since they launched in 2011, nearly 10 years, 20+ apps, and multitudes of features and capabilities ago. This is well illustrated in a statement by Microsoft:

At launch in June 2011, Office 365 included Word, Excel, PowerPoint, Outlook, Lync, Exchange, and InfoPath. We've since expanded other apps - in whole or in part - and entirely new capabilities including: Access, Bookings, Delve, Forms, GroupMe, Kaizala, Lens, Lists, OneDrive, OneNote Class Notebook, Planner, PowerApps, Power Automate, Power BI, Publisher, SharePoint, Staff Hub, Stream, Sway, Teams, To-Do, Visio, Whiteboard, and Yammer.

-- Jared Spataro, Corporate Vice President for Microsoft 365

Here’s what the price changes (effective March 2022) look like:

  • Microsoft 365 Business Basic: increasing from $5 to $6 per license
  • Microsoft 365 Business Premium: increasing from $20 to $22 per license
  • Office 365 E1: increasing from $8 to $10 per license
  • Office 365 E3: increasing from $20 to $23 per license
  • Office 365 E5: increasing from $35 to $38 per license
  • Microsoft 365 E3: increasing from $32 to $36 per license

Another important announcement Microsoft made in August 21, was that that they were extending Microsoft 365’s audio conferencing capabilities for Microsoft Teams across some of their suites (enterprise, business, frontline, and government) over the next months. Previously, PSTN dial-in for conferencing was included with Microsoft 365 E5 and Office 365 E5 and cost $4.00 per month per user as an add-on. With this announcement Microsoft Teams meetings would include Unlimited PSTN Dial-in for conference calls many more license types. Bringing this dial-in capability to more users will assist Teams users in the event of limited or poor connectivity and/or poor-quality audio when joining meetings.

ChoiceTel can help you navigate the world of Microsoft Licensing, acquire the correct licensing, and implement an O365 environment with best practices, including better SLA’s than Microsoft offers direct. Contact us today to learn more! To speak with a consultant, call 800.815.3320 OR email [email protected].

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