Microsoft details new Office 365 upgrade options

Microsoft is rolling out its promised Office 365 switching capability, allowing users to upgrade to new plans more easily and quickly.
Written by Mary Jo Foley, Senior Contributing Editor

In early July at its Worldwide Partner Conference, Microsoft announced plans to make it possible for IT users to upgrade their Office 365 plans more quickly and easily. On August 1, officials shared specifics about that capability via a post on the "Office 365 Technology" blog.


Users can switch to more feature-rich plans (but seemingly cannot back track to less-costly/powerful ones) by clicking on the Switch Plans link on the Office 365 admin center. Once admins select and purchase new plans, their users will be automatically reassigned to the plans' new subscriptions. Customers will receive credits for the unusued portions of their previous subscriptions.

Not all plans can benefit from this automatic switching, but Microsoft is commiting to expand the switching capability "in the future," according to the blog post. Also: Only those with plans covering 300 users or fewer can use the automatic switching wizard at this time.

Here's a list of the plans which are supported currently as part of the new switching option:


Before Microsoft introduced this swtiching capability, customers had to manually reassign user licenses and call Office 365 support to cancel their old subscriptions. But with the new Switch plans wizard, "many plan changes can be done without calling support or manually reassigning licenses," the Softies said.

Here's Microsoft's Frequently Asked Questions document with answers on many of the nitty-gritty Office 365 switching questions users may have.

Microsoft also announced this week the addition of a new Message Center for Office 365 admins. The Message Center is meant to inform Office 365 admins about new features and actions that require administrator action.

The Message Center is available as a new link on the left side of the admin portal. Unfortunately, at least at this time, it doesn't appear that the Message Center will shed any new light on when users who still haven't been upgraded to the latest Office 365 bits can expect to be moved....

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