Microsoft Office 365: More new packages and prices coming in November

There are even more versions of Microsoft's Office 365 than we've thought. Another small-business and a mid-size business release are on deck. And here's pricing for the lot.
Written by Mary Jo Foley, Senior Contributing Editor

Microsoft has been expanding the set of Microsoft-hosted app services under its Office 365 name. But there are a few more SKUs coming that the Softies haven't publicly detailed yet. 

Office 365, up until recently, was the way Microsoft referred to its Google Apps competitor. It's been the name for the bundle of Microsoft-hosted versions of Exchange (Exchange Online), SharePoint (SharePoint Online) and Lync (Lync Online). But with the "New Office," which Microsoft recently released to manufacturing and plans to start rolling out in November 2012, Microsoft also is now using "Office 365" to refer to any Office product, on-premises or cloud-based, that it is selling as an annual subscription.

The list of new Office 365 SKUs Microsoft disclosed earlier this year:

  • Office 365 Home Premium
  • Office 365 Small Business Premium
  • Office 365 ProPlus
  • Office 365 Enterprise

But there are more SKUs than what the Softies have mentioned publicly. This actually the final line-up, confirmed by Microsoft officials when I asked yesterday, from which users will get to choose as Microsoft delivers the updated Office 365 bits in November of this year:

  • Office 365 Home Premium
  • Office 365 Small Business
  • Office 365 Small Business Premium
  • Office 365 ProPlus
  • Office 365 Midsize Business
  • Office 365 Enterprise

The two new additions -- neither of which have been part of Microsoft's public customer preview/beta program for Office -- are Office 365 Small Business and Office 365 Midsize Business. What are these new versions and how much will they cost?

Office 365 Small Business is almost identical to Office 365 Small Business Premium. The only difference is Office 365 ProPlus, which is part of the Premium small-business release, but not the plain-old Office 365 Small Business. Office 365 ProPlus is the name for the locally installable versions of Word, Excel, PowerPoint, Outlook, OneNote, Publisher, Access, Lync and InfoPath that are usable across up to five Windows devices per user.

Here's a slide provided by Microsoft aimed at explaining the differences between the two small-business SKUs:


The Office 365 Midsize Business SKU is aimed, as the name implies, at mid-size businesses, meaning those with between 10 and 250 employees. This version includes the usual Office 365 line-up, meaning Exchange Online, SharePoint Online and Lync Online, plus Office 365 ProPlus.

Here's a slide from a Microsoft deck for its partners that explains the new Office 365 Midsize Business version. (Thanks @steveymacjr for the link.)


So what about pricing for these new versions -- as well as most of the aforementioned line-up? Microsoft disclosed earlier this fall the pricing for Office 365 Home Premium and Office 365 Small Business Premium. Office 365 Home Premium, which allows users to install Word, Excel, PowerPoint, OneNote, Outlook, Publisher, and Access on up to five PCs, Macs and "select smartphones and tablets" It will cost $8.33 per month, or $100 per user, per year. Office 365 Small Business Premium will cost $12.50 per month, or $150 per user, per year.

Thanks to the aforementioned Microsoft partner slide deck, we now know the rest of the planned Office 365 line-up pricing:


Office 365 Midsize Business is going to be priced at $15 per month, or $180 per user, per year. (Microsoft officials confirmed this Midsize Business price when I asked yesterday.) Office 365 Enterprise and Government -- as the new E3 plan is being called officially -- will be priced at $20 per month, $240  per user per year, according to the slide. (There's no pricing information in the slide for the new Office 365 Small Business that's also on tap.)

As the slide above also makes clear, Microsoft is still offering non-subscription pricing for users who prefer to buy a single, locally installable copy of the 2013 versions of its Office Home & Student, Office Home and Business, Office Standard and Office Professional Plus products. But the Softies are making the licensing terms tougher and prices higher on these products in an attempt to convince more users to pay Microsoft an annual subscription fee for its Office wares.

I believe those Office Standard 2013 ($369) and Office Professional Plus 2013 ($499) prices have not been widely circulated yet. Given the rest of the prices on this slide are accurate, I figure these two are, as well. But I am asking Microsoft to see if officials will verify, just to be sure.

What's your take on the Office 365 line-up and pricing? 


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