Microsoft is readying a consumer Microsoft 365 subscription bundle

Microsoft is working to bring a consumer version of its Microsoft 365 bundle to market, which could include Windows 10, Office 365, Skype, Cortana, Outlook Mobile and/or other services.
Written by Mary Jo Foley, Senior Contributing Editor

Microsoft is working on a new subscription bundle aimed at consumers, which looks to be named "Microsoft 365 Consumer." The coming bundle will be the consumer-focused complement to Microsoft's existing Microsoft 365 subscription bundle for business users.

A couple of recent Microsoft job postings mention the consumer subscription bundle, which Microsoft has yet to announce publicly.

One job posting for a Product Manager for the "M365 Consumer Subscription" notes: "The Subscription Product Marketing team is a new team being created to build and scale the Microsoft 365 Consumer Subscription." The job description says the product manager for this service will help "identify, build, position and market a great new Microsoft 365 Consumer Subscription."

Also: What is Microsoft 365?

The job post notes that the team behind Microsoft 365 Consumer oversees the Windows platform, the Microsoft Surface device portfolio, Office 365 consumer plans, Skype, Cortana, Bing search, as well as the Microsoft Education team.

If I were betting on what Microsoft 365 Consumer might include, I'd think some variant of Windows 10, Office 365 Home, Skype, Cortana, Bing, Outlook Mobile, Microsoft To-Do and maybe MSN apps and services could figure into the picture. Maybe this subscription will be tied to Surface devices only? Maybe a monthly leasing fee for Surfaces will be part of the bundle itself? (Just throwing some thoughts out there....)

Update: As a number of readers have noted, Microsoft currently makes Windows 10 available for "free" when Windows ships on new PCs. I am NOT suggesting this consumer bundle is Microsoft's plan to do away with "free" Windows. I think M365 Consumer will be an option, not a requirement, just like M365 for business users is today.

I've asked Microsoft for comment as to when Microsoft 365 Consumer might be available and what it will include. No word back so far. Update No. 2: A spokesperson said the company "has nothing further to share at this time."

The existing Microsoft 365 subscription bundle is an integrated collection of Windows 10, Office 365 and Enterprise Mobility + Security (aka EMS, which includes Intune device management, analytics and some Azure Active Directory capabilities), sold on a subscription basis. Microsoft 365 is the evolution of the bundles formerly known as "Secure Productive Enterprise E3 and E5." Microsoft introduced the Microsoft 365 concept in July 2017 at its Inspire partner conference.

The current slate of available Microsoft 365 bundles include Microsoft 365 Enterprise; Microsoft 365 Business; Microsoft 365 F1 for firstline workers; Microsoft 365 Education; Microsoft 365 Nonprofit; and Microsoft 365 Government.

At this year's Inspire event, Microsoft officials began talking up Microsoft's plan to try to re-engage consumers via its "Modern Life and Devices" approach. The coming Microsoft 365 Consumer Subscription falls under the domain of Modern Life and Devices. (Yusuf Mehdi is Corporate Vice President of Modern Life and Devices.)

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Modern Life and Devices (MLD) is targeting "professional consumers" -- people who know how to use technology but need to figure out how to use it better to make themselves more productive.

When Microsoft introduced the low-end Surface Go earlier this year, I wondered why the company didn't make Microsoft 365 a requirement on that device. Microsoft does offer the current Microsoft 365 subscription as an option for the Surface Go -- which is targeted at firstline workers, education and consumers. But maybe I was just a little early and the next iteration of the Go might be tied to Microsoft 365 Consumer...

A brief history of Microsoft's Surface: Missteps and successes

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