Microsoft to add new education-focused M365 A1 per-device subscription plan

In addition to adding a new Microsoft 365 A1 per-device option, Microsoft is introducing a new Teams Content from Camera feature aimed at the education market.
Written by Mary Jo Foley, Senior Contributing Editor
Credit: Microsoft

Microsoft is adding another new Microsoft 365 bundle to its line-up. The M365 A1 per -device license, which will be available for purchase as of November 1, will cost $38 per device and be good for six years.

Microsoft also has developed a new Teams feature called Teams Content from Camera which is aimed at the education market, officials announced today, September 30. Teams Content from Camera enables students and teachers to share physical handwriting from a whiteboard or a document using their laptop's camera. (The screen shot above is the Content from Camera feature in action.) This new feature will be available in December 2021.

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Officials said the new M365 A1 for devices plan includes the full suite of Microsoft 365 apps, including Office and Teams; cloud management; and Minecraft: Education Edition. Microsoft officials are pitching the $38 per device license as "providing more for students and educators relative to competitive offerings at the same price." I'm assuming Microsoft means Google in terms of "competitive offerings," though I'm having trouble figuring out the exact calculation Microsoft is using here, given the most expensive Google Workspace for Education SKU is $5 per student per year and includes advanced security, analytics, teaching and learning tools and more.

Microsoft officials said this summer that the company was planning a hefty price increase for many of its M365/Office 365 SKUs as of March 2022. At that time, however, officials said there would be no March 2022 price increase for the education or consumer SKUs; the increase is for commercial/business SKUs only.

Update (October 1): For those asking, Microsoft is not replacing the existing Microsoft 365 A1 plan with this new $38 per device A1 plan. The existing A1 plan, which is free, will continue to be available per user. The free A1 plan includes Web apps only, officials stressed.

As to why Microsoft is introducing this new per-device plan, a number of users on Twitter are speculating that Microsoft may be readying some kind of new and improved Intune subscription for education customers. Maybe... So far, Microsoft isn't really saying much as to why they are rolling out this new plan and who the intended beneficiaries are.

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