Office 365 price increase ahead for some enterprises and more Microsoft news of the week

Office 365 price increase ahead for some enterprises and more Microsoft news of the week

Summary: Microsoft's new Office 365 pricing, new Outlook Web App functionality, an update to Visual Studio 2013 and more on that coming Microsoft smartband close out this short week.


The July 4 holiday here in the U.S. is just around the corner. Here's a round up of some of the late-breaking Microsoft news of this week.


Office 365 price increase coming for some enterprise customers

Microsoft is increasing the price of Office 365 for customers with Enterprise Agreement contracts by roughly 15 percent. 

Microsoft officials acknowledged that customers with Office 365  E suites (E1, E3 and E4), plus equivalent Government SKUs will be affected. But only those without Office Software Assurance (SA) or net-new EA customers after August 1 will be hit with the price increase.

A Microsoft spokesperson sent the following statement about the change:

“The vast majority of our customers will not see an increase in the cost of Office 365. All existing Office 365 EA customers are guaranteed prices will not change for the duration of their agreement. New Office 365 EA customers who don’t have a previous investment in our products will see an increase to align our pricing to our other channels."

Microsoft improves collaboration in Outlook Web App

Microsoft has added a promised new feature to its Outlook Web App. That new feature, "Document Collaboration," changes how users interact with attachments in mail when those attachments include comments and edits. Microsoft began rolling out the new feature to Office 365 subscribers starting July 2.

Instead of having to download an attachment, make changes to it, rename the file, reattach it and send an e-mail reply, there's now a more "modern" process company officials explained in a July 2 blog post.

Document Collaboration should not be confused with the similarly named "Document Conversations." Document Conversations, which Microsoft began rolling out on June 3, adds Yammer conversations into a pane on the right hand side of OneDrive and SharePoint Online files.

Document Collaboration supports viewing of Word, Excel, PowerPoint and PDF files and "most types of pictures." It supports editing only in Word, Excel and PowerPoint files created in Office 2007 and above. More types of files will be added for viewing purposes; no word on whether more editing types are coming, as well.

Microsoft rolls out Release Candidate of Visual Studio 2013 Update 3

Microsoft has made available the near-final Release Candidate build of Visual Studio 2013 and Team Foundation Server 2013 Update 3.

Both are available under a "go-live" license. The RC is expected to be the last test build before Update 3 is released in final form in the next month or two. Microsoft also is planning to deliver an Update 4 to Visual Studio 2013.

Update 3 includes CodeLens support for Git; an option for mixed case (not just all caps) as a menu option; and various usability fixes.

About that Microsoft smartwatch... or smartband

It's increasingly sounding like Microsoft's first wearable device is likely to be a smartband, rather than a smartwatch.

Tom's Hardware reported earlier this week that the long-rumored Microsoft device could take more of a fitness-band form.

Windows SuperSite's Paul Thurrott, citing his own sources, said to expect the coming Microsoft smartband to be more like the Gear Fit. It's supposedly launching this fall, will do all the usual monitoring and notifications and support not just Windows and Windows Phone, but iOS and Android, as well. The device's display is expected to be on the inside, rather than the outside, of the wrist.

A group of Microsoft employees applied in October 2012 for a "wearable personal information system," as The Verge noted. That patent was issued at the start of May 2014.

Topics: Cloud, Collaboration, Microsoft, Software Development


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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  • The Biggest Ripoff On Earth Gets Even Bigger!

    If companies are stupid enough to have a financial umbilical cord attached to MS, they get exactly what they deserve.

    Corporate America will one day wake up and ditch Office for good, primarily because of Microsoft's greed.

    MS needs to move carefully with 365, as it's already widely panned as a ripoff with consumers.

    That's why their iPad app bombed.

    Who's going to pay MS every month for using programs that haven't significantly changed in over a decade... fanboys?
    • Disagree!

      While I find the consumer Office 365 to be a bit of a rip-off (we want our $120 Home and Student version for 3 PCs back!), Office 365 for Business has actually been a steal of a deal so far, and will continue to be even with a price bump. Office 365 for Business is a heck of a lot more than a few silly Office applications.

      We do not pay for it as we moved to the free Office 365 for Nonprofits (essentially the mythical E2 tier), but even if we were paying for it monthly the bill for our relatively small business would still be less than what we have traditionally paid for our discounted versions of Server to run on a local server. You have to pay staff to setup and maintain it, you have to pay the power bill for the 24/7 device, there is almost guaranteed to be more down time if running a cheap (or in our case used/donated) server, and it is increasingly difficult to use local server services on natively cloud devices such as the phones and tablets that keep showing up in the pockets of our employees and volunteers who need access to these services.

      Moving to 365 saves us a ton of headaches while offering a lot more flexibility. Again, we do not pay for it as we are a nonprofit, but if we had to pay for it then we would still be ahead just on the power bill and maintenance issues we have had to deal with the last few years alone; getting it for free is just a bonus.

      Businesses, especially larger ones, do not typically make rash infrastructure decisions. When businesses are moving towards something and you do not understand it, then in all likelihood you are the one not seeing something, not them. I am not saying that there are not reasons to keep some services local in some cases... but most businesses really do not need to invest in the hardware, manpower, and maintenance to get good services with very little down time. Save money, time and headaches, and throw the saved money at a better internet connection.
      • Consumer is excellent value

        The consumer version with five installs a TB of online storage is an excellent value. Just to get 500GB on dropbox with nothing else is $50/month.
        Buster Friendly
        • Nobody has 5 computers to install Office

          First of all, NOBODY has 5 computers or 5 installs to spend. Secondly, Office 365 is Office 2013,.....for the people who signed up for the service from Day ONE, there Office 2013 is basically $198 which expires in 730 days. is that an excellent value, when you can just pay for it "one and done?"

          This "great value"verbiage is nothing but Microsoft fanboy speak.

          Nobody needs Office that BAD. Even Mary Jo Foley uses Word Pad to get her work done.
          • There are plenty if families out there with muktipke PCs.

            You also get access to the ipad and iphone versions, with Android to follow shortly. It's really not that bad of a deal if you have more than 1 pc.
          • We have...

            3 Macs, 3 PCs. You can add family members as subordinates to the main account and share it across all of them.
          • I have 5 PC users at home

            Mum, dad and three kids, each with their own desktop or laptop and want, note I say want, to use MS Office.

            The consumer version is much better value than upgrading Office every few years.
          • "Nobody needs Office that BAD"

            Wrong. I worked for a company that tried to ditch MS Office and use alternatives. It caused way too much headache with partners, suppliers and customers. Most of the corporate world uses, standardizes on MS Office.

            Business people DO need it. The addition of MS Office document editing in Google Android Apps has been welcomed enthusiastically by many in my organization.
          • But

            MS Office is still the standard. As for Google apps, they may be able to read Office docs but they will never be "perfect".
          • Huh?

            And how do you know nobody has 5 computers? My brother's family have 5. I have at least that if you include my VMs. A Typical family has 2 parents and 2 kids. The parents each will need a copy [unless they use a work laptop] and the kids need it as soon as they hit their teens.
          • actually

            5 wasn't enough for me, so I'm increasing my small business O365 licence so I get Office through there as well.

            And the fact you can invite others - its only backwards looking small minded you that would say 5 copies is a waste. If you don't need all 5 then share with others - that's why I hooked a couple friends up with and they love it as between 2 of them they used the 5 licences and split the bill.
          • Hmmm

            I agree and disagree with you.

            First off, I have more than 5 computers at home. Server, desktop, laptop, wife's laptop, tablet, wife's tablet (can I include my phone and the wife's phone? they access files on the server). Also my daughter's laptop makes regular appearances on my home network. And that doesn't include the internet connected devices in the house.

            That being said, NONE of these devices have Microsoft Office (any version) on them. I work in tech support for a medium to large enterprise (has about 7000 desktop/laptop client computers) and I also run a small consulting business on the side. I have absolutely no need for Microsoft Office at home or in my home business. When the need does arise that I have to open an attachment or review a document, LibreOffice works just fine. LibreOffice also works fine to generate an invoice in Calc or create documentation in Writer.
        • And unlimited storage ...

          .... for free is what you get with that 'other' office provider as long as you use their format.
      • student office

        Remember that when a school buys 365 for their staff, office is free for students.
    • Oh

      I read your title and thought you were talking about Apple.
    • LOL

      The constant and irrational struggle to be negative can be quite amusing.
      Buster Friendly
    • Your life must be a living hell, with Microsoft around, and it will

      continue to be a living hell until you die, because, Microsoft will outlive you.

      You need psychiatric help. Get it, and come back when you have solved your insanity issues.
    • Errr

      It is so nice being anti-Microsoft eh? It shows.
      The Office iPad app bombed? According to you maybe but not according to what I've read. Where are your facts? Show us a true link with credible data and maybe we'd take you seriously.
      O365 a "rip off"? According to whom again - b'sides you?
      Microsoft "greed"? Seems better than others including [I'm assuming] your beloved Google who don't give a crap about privacy.
    • so funny...

      You have to be making a joke, as all reports I see indicate Office is a hit on the iPad.

      It's also not a rip off for consumers when you look at what $12 a month provides -
      - ongoing free upgrades to office
      - the ability to share the licences so all 5 get used
      - a TB of online storage
      - 60 minutes of free calls to most of the world each month

      And no Google products in sight... Its a multi-win for consumers.

      For business its also a great deal given each licence covers not just Office but SharePoint, Lync and Exchange all bundled into the 1 pay as you go licence (oh and optionally can cover Yammer as well).
  • Windows Weekly

    Where was Windows Weekly yesterday. I missed you guys!