Microsoft 365 Business public preview goes live August 2

Microsoft is ready to let SMB users start kicking the tires of its coming $20 per user per month Microsoft 365 subscription bundle.

Microsoft is opening up the public preview of its recently announced Microsoft 365 Business bundle tomorrow, August 2.

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Microsoft 365 Business is one of two new subscription bundles -- the other being Microsoft 365 Enterprise -- which company officials announced at the Microsoft Inspire partner show last month.

Microsoft 365 Businessis for small/mid-size business customers who have a maximum of 300 users. Microsoft 365 Business bundles together Office 365 Business Premium, some pieces of Microsoft's Enterprise Mobility + Security offering and upgrade rights to Windows 10. Users need to be running Windows 7 or 8.1 or Windows 10 Pro (Creators Update) on their desktops in order to use Microsoft 365 Business.

Update: A Microsoft spokesperson confirmed that -- like Office 365 Business Premium -- Microsoft 365 Business users will get five device installs of Windows 10 per user as part of the offering.

The name of the version of Windows 10 that is included in Microsoft 365 Business is actually Windows 10 Business. Windows 10 Business -- which only is available as an integrated part of Microsoft 365 Business -- includes everything in Win 10 Pro plus Windows Defender Security Controls, Windows AutoPilot, as well as hooks for Automatic Office apps deployment, Microsoft officials told partners at Inspire when describing how to sell Windows Pro and Windows 10 S, moving forward.

Microsoft 365 Business costs $20 per user per month, compared to standalone Office 365 Business Premium, which costs $12.50 per user per month.

Users participating in the public preview of Microsoft 365 Business won't be expected to pay for the bundle, but they will need to continue to pay for their Office 365 subscriptions that are not associated with the preview, according to a Frequently Asked Questions (FAQ) section on Microsoft's page for Microsoft 365. The preview will be available available to new customers as well as existing Office 365 subscribers in all markets where Office 365 is currently available, as The Licensing School UK notes in its own, useful FAQ on the product.

The sign up for Microsoft 365 Business preview is on the product page.

Microsoft's goal is to make Microsoft 365 Business generally available toward the end of calendar 2017, according to the web page. Microsoft 365 will be sold through Microsoft's Cloud Solutions Provider channel and directly by Microsoft.

Customers who want to sign up for the preview via the direct channel will start from the Microsoft 365 web page, and will be connected with a Microsoft customer service representative to register. Once the product is generally available, customers will be able to purchase subscriptions through the same process, officials said.

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