Microsoft's three new Office 365 SMB plans now open for business

Microsoft's three new Office 365 small/mid-size business plans are now generally available. Here's how they compare and what they're replacing.

The three new Office 365 small/mid-size business plans that Microsoft introduced in 2014 are now generally available to existing Office 365 business customers.

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When Microsoft officials announced these plans last year, they noted that most users shouldn't move to them until some time after October 1, 2015. Earlier this year, Microsoft pushed back that start date to December 1, 2015. The stated reason for the push-back was to enable users to be able to move to Office 2016 "more seamlessly" as part of their Office 365 migrations.

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The three new Office 365 SMB plans, which are replacing the current Office 365 Small Business, Small Business Premium and Midsize Business plans:

  • Office 365 Business Essentials, which includes email and calendaring (Exchange Online); online meetings, instant messaging and video conferencing (Lync Online); team sites (SharePoint Online); 1 TB of free OneDrive for Business cloud storage, and Yammer enterprise social-networking support. It doesn't include any downloadable Office apps. It will cost $5 per user per month, or $60 per year.
  • Office 365 Business, which includes the full set of locally installable Office applications (Outlook, Word, Excel, PowerPoint, OneNote and Publisher) for up to 5 PCs and/or Macs per user; and 1 TB of free OneDrive for Business cloud storage. It doesn't include Exchange, Lync or SharePoint online. It's just the software (and storage) sold as a subscription. It will cost $8.25 per user per month, or $99 per year.
  • Office 365 Business Premium, which includes the full set of locally installable Office applications for up to 5 PCs and/or Macs per user; Exchange Online; Lync Online; SharePoint Online; Yammer enterprise social-networking; and 1 TB of free OneDrive for Business cloud storage. It will cost $12.50 per user per month, or $150 per year.

Here's Microsoft's chart showing how the three new plans stack up:

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(And before anyone asks, I have no idea whether or when Microsoft may increase the OneDrive for Business storage limits on these plans to "unlimited." We still have no update on that situation.)

Microsoft has put together a slide show to help answer some of the migration questions users may have on moving to the new plans.

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