Microsoft won't deliver Office 365 updates for new business users until February

Microsoft won't deliver Office 365 updates for new business users until February

Summary: Microsoft isn't making its business-focused Office 365 plans available to customers until February, a month after it launches the consumer-focused Home Premium version.


On January 29, as expected, Microsoft began shipping two key components of the "New Office": Its Office 2013 packages and Office 365 Home Premium subscription service.


But new customers who are waiting on the other refreshed Office 365 plans with all the latest features -- the Small Business, Midsize Business and new Enterprise offerings -- have to wait until February 27 for them to begin rolling out.

Microsoft officials have been saying for the past few months that the refreshed Office 365 would be available in the first quarter of 2013. My understanding was that all elements of the New Office -- the packaged applications and the refreshed Office 365 services -- would be available simultaneously as of "launch."

Today is the launch of the New Office. But the only two "services" pieces that are available for purchase are Office 365 Home Premium and Office 365 University. Both of these are collections of locally installable Office 2013 applications that Microsoft is offering via subscription plans. Office 365 Home Premium is available for $8.33 a month, or $99.99 a year. Office 365 University (for college/university students, faculty and staff) is available for $79.99 for a four-year subscription.

All of the business-facing SKUs will be out on February 27, officials said on January 29, meaning both the refreshed existing Office 365 SKUs and the brand-new Office 365 Small Business Premium and Office 365 Midsize.

Here's a list of the coming Office 365 plans and their expected pricing, as Microsoft has explained them to its reseller partners. (The top set of figures on this chart are the subscription/Office 365 prices and the bottom set are the prices for the packaged/boxed products.)




Unlike the case with Windows Intune, Microsoft is delivering the latest refreshed Office 365 bits to existing subscription customers weeks ahead of when new users can get them. (Existing Intune users can't get the "Wave D" update until February 2013, while new users have been able to get it since December 2012.)

Microsoft has been prepping its reseller partners for months for the Office 365 launch. Volume licensees have been able to get the latest Office client and servers -- the 2013 versions of Exchange, SharePoint and Lync -- since October/November 2012. And current Office 365 Enterprise customers have been able to get the latest refreshed bits since October 2012.

Office 365 is Microsoft's competitor to Google Apps. It (primarily) is Microsoft-hosted versions of its business server products sold to users as a subscription. With the addition of Office 365 Home Premium, Microsoft added to its Office 365 family something that's quite different: Locally installabe apps that are sold on a subscription basis. 


Topics: Collaboration, Cloud, Enterprise Software, Microsoft


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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  • 4 Years

    So, if you take longer than 4 years, you re-up your subscription? If you graduate after year 5, do you get to stay on the subscription for the next three years?
  • Clarification Regarding October 2012 Availability

    In the article you mentioned "And current Office 365 Enterprise customers have been able to get the latest refreshed bits since October 2012." We're a current Office365 with the E3 plan and we can't get it, so I'm trying to figure out if there's something we're missing or if you meant to refer to the true Enterprise customers with Software Assurance and Volume licensing.

    Also, last I saw they were going to start with Exchange only customers and then progress to Enterprise plan customers for the upgrade, any word if that's really the case and when we may see the update?
  • E3 plan updates

    @sshull - MS were a little misleading about the updates - we've got new versions of the Office Web Apps but that's it.

    What I really want is the updated Sharepoint 2013 and Office Professional Plus 2013. Site mailboxes, Skydrive Pro, etc. are some of the features that make it worth the upgrade. We are also on E3 plan and can't get them yet and MS won't tell people when they are available. Its a shame they can't tell existing customers. I'm hoping it is sooner rather than later, but am not holding my breathe for end of Feb.