Microsoft expected to announce Microsoft 365 consumer subscription plans on March 30

Microsoft looks ready to take the wraps off its Microsoft-365-branded consumer subscription service, its replacement for Office 365 Home and Personal.

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Credit: Microsoft

Microsoft is sending out to select press and analysts invitations to a virtual event on March 30. My sources say this is likely the announcement of the expected Microsoft 365 "Life" -- aka the new Microsoft 365 consumer subscription service. 

The invitation doesn't provide many details. It says: "We invite you to a digital briefing to unveil the latest from Microsoft. Learn about how to be more productive across work, life and family."

As I reported in December, the company's Microsoft 365 (M365) consumer subscription originally was supposed to be announced around the time of Build 2019, but instead was pushed to spring 2020. The working name for the M365 consumer subscription service is Microsoft 365 Life (codenamed "Alta").

Microsoft 365 is Microsoft's bundle of Windows 10 Enterprise, Office 365 and Enterprise Mobility and Security. Microsoft offers several different M365 commercial and education SKUs currently, but so far does not have an M365-branded offering for consumers.

The Microsoft 365 Life bundles will largely be a rebrand of the existing Office 365 Personal and Home products and, as of right now, are expected to retain the same pricing as the existing O365 consumer subscription bundles, my sources have said. (Microsoft O365 Home goes for $99.99 and Personal for $69.99 per year.) Microsoft will market these new bundles as being about more than just core productivity by including some distinctly consumer-focused features, such as a password manager, I hear.

As I and others have reported, there's also a rumored "Teams for Life" version of Microsoft's Teams group-chat product also could fit into an M365 Life subscription, but I'm not sure when Microsoft plans to announce/ship this.

(If you're wondering about why Microsoft is using "Life" in these consumer subscription names, there is a branding reason. In 2018, Microsoft officials began talking up Microsoft's plan to try to re-engage consumers via its "Modern Life and Devices" approach. The M365 Life subscription falls under the domain of Modern Life and Devices. (Yusuf Mehdi is Corporate Vice President of Modern Life, Search and Devices.)  

I am hearing from my contacts that no Microsoft hardware will be announced or shown as part of this anticipated M365 consumer subscription event.