Microsoft Office 365: More new packages and prices coming in November

Microsoft Office 365: More new packages and prices coming in November

Summary: There are even more versions of Microsoft's Office 365 than we've thought. Another small-business and a mid-size business release are on deck. And here's pricing for the lot.


Microsoft has been expanding the set of Microsoft-hosted app services under its Office 365 name. But there are a few more SKUs coming that the Softies haven't publicly detailed yet. 

Office 365, up until recently, was the way Microsoft referred to its Google Apps competitor. It's been the name for the bundle of Microsoft-hosted versions of Exchange (Exchange Online), SharePoint (SharePoint Online) and Lync (Lync Online). But with the "New Office," which Microsoft recently released to manufacturing and plans to start rolling out in November 2012, Microsoft also is now using "Office 365" to refer to any Office product, on-premises or cloud-based, that it is selling as an annual subscription.

The list of new Office 365 SKUs Microsoft disclosed earlier this year:

  • Office 365 Home Premium
  • Office 365 Small Business Premium
  • Office 365 ProPlus
  • Office 365 Enterprise

But there are more SKUs than what the Softies have mentioned publicly. This actually the final line-up, confirmed by Microsoft officials when I asked yesterday, from which users will get to choose as Microsoft delivers the updated Office 365 bits in November of this year:

  • Office 365 Home Premium
  • Office 365 Small Business
  • Office 365 Small Business Premium
  • Office 365 ProPlus
  • Office 365 Midsize Business
  • Office 365 Enterprise

The two new additions -- neither of which have been part of Microsoft's public customer preview/beta program for Office -- are Office 365 Small Business and Office 365 Midsize Business. What are these new versions and how much will they cost?

Office 365 Small Business is almost identical to Office 365 Small Business Premium. The only difference is Office 365 ProPlus, which is part of the Premium small-business release, but not the plain-old Office 365 Small Business. Office 365 ProPlus is the name for the locally installable versions of Word, Excel, PowerPoint, Outlook, OneNote, Publisher, Access, Lync and InfoPath that are usable across up to five Windows devices per user.

Here's a slide provided by Microsoft aimed at explaining the differences between the two small-business SKUs:


The Office 365 Midsize Business SKU is aimed, as the name implies, at mid-size businesses, meaning those with between 10 and 250 employees. This version includes the usual Office 365 line-up, meaning Exchange Online, SharePoint Online and Lync Online, plus Office 365 ProPlus.

Here's a slide from a Microsoft deck for its partners that explains the new Office 365 Midsize Business version. (Thanks @steveymacjr for the link.)


So what about pricing for these new versions -- as well as most of the aforementioned line-up? Microsoft disclosed earlier this fall the pricing for Office 365 Home Premium and Office 365 Small Business Premium. Office 365 Home Premium, which allows users to install Word, Excel, PowerPoint, OneNote, Outlook, Publisher, and Access on up to five PCs, Macs and "select smartphones and tablets" It will cost $8.33 per month, or $100 per user, per year. Office 365 Small Business Premium will cost $12.50 per month, or $150 per user, per year.

Thanks to the aforementioned Microsoft partner slide deck, we now know the rest of the planned Office 365 line-up pricing:


Office 365 Midsize Business is going to be priced at $15 per month, or $180 per user, per year. (Microsoft officials confirmed this Midsize Business price when I asked yesterday.) Office 365 Enterprise and Government -- as the new E3 plan is being called officially -- will be priced at $20 per month, $240  per user per year, according to the slide. (There's no pricing information in the slide for the new Office 365 Small Business that's also on tap.)

As the slide above also makes clear, Microsoft is still offering non-subscription pricing for users who prefer to buy a single, locally installable copy of the 2013 versions of its Office Home & Student, Office Home and Business, Office Standard and Office Professional Plus products. But the Softies are making the licensing terms tougher and prices higher on these products in an attempt to convince more users to pay Microsoft an annual subscription fee for its Office wares.

I believe those Office Standard 2013 ($369) and Office Professional Plus 2013 ($499) prices have not been widely circulated yet. Given the rest of the prices on this slide are accurate, I figure these two are, as well. But I am asking Microsoft to see if officials will verify, just to be sure.

What's your take on the Office 365 line-up and pricing? 


Topics: Cloud, Collaboration, Microsoft, Unified Comms, SMBs


Mary Jo has covered the tech industry for 30 years for a variety of publications and Web sites, and is a frequent guest on radio, TV and podcasts, speaking about all things Microsoft-related. She is the author of Microsoft 2.0: How Microsoft plans to stay relevant in the post-Gates era (John Wiley & Sons, 2008).

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  • This is still unclear

    If I buy Office 365 Home Premium and install it on 5 computers in my home, will that cost me $100 per year, or $500 per year? And if I have 6 computers at home, is that another $100? I don't know what the significance is of the 5-user limit.

    If I get a Windows Phone 8 smartphone and install whatever version of Office is available for that, is that also $100 per year?

    Is there a lower upgrade price if all our computers are already running earlier versions of Windows? If so, is that an annual subscription price as well? Does the price of this upgrade subscription stay at the lower level year after year?
    • I meant to say "earlier versions of Office" in the last paragraph.

    • yes

      Office 365 Home Premium will allow you to install on up to 5 computers for total cost of $100 per year for all 5 on a single "Product Key".

      Computer #6 would require another license, which would cost another $100 per year. It would also allow install on up to 4 more machines, "in the home".

      No, there has no longer been a discounted "upgrade" offering for "faithful" customers since Office 2010 was released. MS did us a "favor" and simplified the product list. Didn't want to confuse us poor simple minded customers ...

      Here are the prices for the "Local Install" versions. They have huge increases based on per machine cost.
      2012 09 17- MS announces Office 2013 prices and packaging
      • Office Home & Student, which includes Word, Excel, PowerPoint, and OneNote, will cost $140 (for "FPP" license) , up 17% from the current $120 (for "PKC" license).
      • Office Home & Business, which includes the above apps plus Outlook, will go for $220 (for "FPP" license) , up 10% from the current price of $200 (for "PKC" license).
      • Office Professional, which includes the above apps plus Access and Publisher, goes up to $400 (for "FPP" license) , a 14% bump from the current sticker price of $350 (for "PKC" license).
      • If you want to install the traditional versions of Office 2013 on multiple PCs, you’ll need to buy separate licenses for each one.

      My math has it a little different comparing retail to retail rather than PKC to new retail. The 2013 “Retail” licenses are now only good on 1 machine at a time, but still include transfer rights:
      • H&S $150/3 users = $50/user up to $140 is 2.8 times more expensive, 180% more
      • H&B $280/2 computer = $140/computer up to $220 is 1.8 times more expensive, 80% more
      • Pro $500/2 computer = $250/computer up to $400 is 1.6 times more expensive, 60% more
      • Thanks!

        Paul Thurrott's article makes it clear. Seems like a good deal, at least for the first 5 computers.
      • Bad Math...


        You're completely missing the point of Office365 if you're using Office as the basis of determining value. Particularly for SMB and beyond, you're getting hosted services such as Exchange, Lync and SharePoint as well, which, you know, saves just a wee bit on licensing those products and maintaining the server infrastructure for it.

        O365 is really one of the best deals out there - I run an E4 account for my *personal* use because it's that valuable. It's worth every penny.
        • Maybe

          But, for me, I have no need for that extra "crap" so it has no value to me.

          Granted if:
          - you have 4 or 5 computers in the home,
          - you use skype,
          - you use skydrive extensively,
          - you have multiple users,
          - you have any use for the "extra" apps like Publisher and Access or even Outlook

          then YES, 365 has been marketed to be a better "deal" than the 2010 Home and student retail license, let alone the "new and improved" 2013 H&S license.

          But I don't.

          Many people don't.

          The 3 install 2010 Home and student license was a very good deal for me. The Office 2003 Home and Student 3 install license I AM STILL USING after having transferred it to my 3rd computer is a GREAT Deal. Office 2013 Home and Student, a single computer, non transferable license is by comparison an incredibly crappy deal. That is MS's intention, to "force" / direct people to the perpetual rental "deal". My 2003 license has cost me around $15 a year, not $100 ...

          If you take a look at MS's online help site,, in the Office forum you will see LOTS (dozens daily) of people complaining that they can't get their Office 365 licenses to work, AT ALL. Or that they worked and broke. One person has been trying for 2 weeks now, since the initial release, to get his purchase to work. So he will not get the benefit of that 2 weeks of his license. The value of that use time has been stolen from him, not to mention the lost time he has wasted trying to trick it into working. Not to mention the head-aches. What is the value of all of those people's lost productivity?

          MS has made absolutely no reply to any of these customers on how to get what they have paid for.
    • The pricing is similar to Apple's app stores

      You can purchase and install on up to 5 devices per account. It's the same as when you buy an app in Apple's Mac or App store - you can install it on up to 5 devices activated against a single iTunes account. If you have 6 devices, you'll need at least 2 accounts and will have to buy the app for each account.
      Joining Dots
  • It seems to me...

    That Office 365 is cheaper than buying outright... IF AND ONLY IF you actually use ALL of the services provided, ie. Office, Exchange, Lync, and SharePoint. I can definitely say that buying them individually (for my 250 user enterprise) is cheaper via Office 365 Enterprise than to buy outright.

    However, if you don't use all the products, then it might not make all that much sense. It's definitely one of those things you need to do the math for your home or business before deciding.

    I do think, however, that a 5 user Home and Student offer is worth it, since you get storage, email, and the copy of Office to use for your 5 users.
  • Good opportunity for small to medium businesses

    Many business owners will frown at paying a subscription for Microsoft Services, but consider that these prices places the Microsoft stack at a price point comparable to large enterprise deployments. In the past small to medium businesses had to get their microsoft products from VARs which charged them the full retail price. So in the end, this seems like a good value if a business chooses to use Microsoft. The proposition for home users is less clear.
  • I love Office but geez

    Does it have to be like this?

    Just like the Windows SKUs, Office needs to be toned down too.

    - Office Standard
    - Office Professional
    - Office Premium

    If you need services on top of that, you buy it separately.
  • I don't know...

    a hundred bucks per year for five licenses at home. That's not bad.

    What surprised me recently was learning that my son's community college professors have everyone using Google Docs. They don't pay anything and apparently, they can share their work, edit each other's documents in-class, etc. I had no idea anyone other than die-hard Google fans used it.

    With Microsoft pricing their product at any amount and a competitor's product being free (yes, they're likely not equal, but for the basic functionality required, I doubt there is any significant difference), I wonder if Microsoft is pricing themselves out of the student arena?
    • EDU pricing is different

      The pricing quoted in this article is not Microsoft education pricing and shouldn't be compares to Google's EDU offerings.
    • Google and Microsoft has the same pricing for colleges

      There is a free version of Office 365 for academic institutions offering the same feature set as Google Apps for Education. It's the Office 365 A1-plan, formerly known as Live@Edu and includes web-based Office editing. Listed in the article is the A2 plan that includes a copy of Office installed on the desktop/tablet for local editing of documents.

      It's a confusing naming strategy. There are 3 types of Office 365 plan: A, P and E. A is for Academic. P is for businesses up to 250 users, E is for organisations up to 50,000+ users. Each plan has a web-only license that includes Office web apps (e.g. A1, P1, E1/E2), offering similar capabilities and pricing to Google equivalents (Google Apps for Education, Google Apps for Business, Google Apps for Government). Office 365 also has a licensing model to include a copy of Office installed locally on up to 5 devices per user account. This article is covering the latter.
      Joining Dots
  • Times are a changin

    The use of documents and the suites used to create them are in decline being replaced by collaboration tools such as wiki's and forum like tools. Not that they will go away anytime soon but I have found working in IT that I would sooner update a wiki page then generate a .docx file to be lost in a file server or SharePoint black hole; couple that with the fact that no-cost office equivalent software such as abiword or libre office work good enough for 99% of document creators needs and the pay to play office 365 looks much less attractive for anyone outside of a large Microsoft centric business.
  • Migrations between plans?

    Is there any word about any new abilities to migrate between plans. I am in the process of migrating from a P1 to an E3 plan and it is a huge pain -- everything server-side has to be manually recreated (e.g. none of your users, SharePoint docs, e-mails, DNS entries, etc. carry over). With this new midsize tier, what happens when companies grow or need to expand from tier to the next?
    • Migrations in Office 365

      From what I understand the midsize tier is really just based on the E1/E2 SKUs and shouldn't have the migration limitations associated with the old P1 plan. The P1 plan was actually on a separate platform than the E skus and thus necessitated full migrations. Hopefully they'll figure out a better way to turn on/off features that doesn't require that platform separation in the next release. No word on that that I've heard yet, however.
  • You know what

    This licensing stuff is too difficult.

    Recently my Office 2010 installation suddenly decided it was no longer 'activated'. Activation over the internet didn't work. So that resulted in a rather hilarious phone call (first two numbers didn't work) to an automated system that i was SURE was some kind of joke, an absolutely insane number of numbres had to be typed in.

    And then it worked again.

    I'm not sure I want to deal with this kind of crap. Giving KingOffice a look.
    Han CNX
    • Reactivation

      You generally only see reactivation like that when you change enough components in your system that Microsoft isn't sure Office is still loaded on the same computer. You're right, it can be a pain, but you can generally activate online rather than on the phone. The only time you should go to the phone is if you've already reactivated Office a bunch of times and Microsoft is worried you're abusing the system and loading Office on a whole lot of computers without purchasing adequate licenses.

      That said... with Office 365 you'll get Office 2013 and it is a VERY significant upgrade from 2010. I like 2010, 2013 is better. Don't give up on Office just yet, I think you'll be sorry you did.
  • Who still uses Office 365 or Microsoft Office?

    I personally cut the cord and went the LibreOffice route in my home a long time ago.
    • Can't believe people still pay for MSOffice

      Same here. Went LibreOffice years ago back when it was Openoffice. Heck, now Google Docs' conversions are highly accurate and it's FREE. Good luck, Microsoft.