Office 365 price increase ahead for some enterprises and more Microsoft news of the week

Microsoft's new Office 365 pricing, new Outlook Web App functionality, an update to Visual Studio 2013 and more on that coming Microsoft smartband close out this short week.
Written by Mary Jo Foley, Senior Contributing Editor

The July 4 holiday here in the U.S. is just around the corner. Here's a round up of some of the late-breaking Microsoft news of this week.


Office 365 price increase coming for some enterprise customers

Microsoft is increasing the price of Office 365 for customers with Enterprise Agreement contracts by roughly 15 percent. 

Microsoft officials acknowledged that customers with Office 365  E suites (E1, E3 and E4), plus equivalent Government SKUs will be affected. But only those without Office Software Assurance (SA) or net-new EA customers after August 1 will be hit with the price increase.

A Microsoft spokesperson sent the following statement about the change:

“The vast majority of our customers will not see an increase in the cost of Office 365. All existing Office 365 EA customers are guaranteed prices will not change for the duration of their agreement. New Office 365 EA customers who don’t have a previous investment in our products will see an increase to align our pricing to our other channels."

Microsoft improves collaboration in Outlook Web App

Microsoft has added a promised new feature to its Outlook Web App. That new feature, "Document Collaboration," changes how users interact with attachments in mail when those attachments include comments and edits. Microsoft began rolling out the new feature to Office 365 subscribers starting July 2.

Instead of having to download an attachment, make changes to it, rename the file, reattach it and send an e-mail reply, there's now a more "modern" process company officials explained in a July 2 blog post.

Document Collaboration should not be confused with the similarly named "Document Conversations." Document Conversations, which Microsoft began rolling out on June 3, adds Yammer conversations into a pane on the right hand side of OneDrive and SharePoint Online files.

Document Collaboration supports viewing of Word, Excel, PowerPoint and PDF files and "most types of pictures." It supports editing only in Word, Excel and PowerPoint files created in Office 2007 and above. More types of files will be added for viewing purposes; no word on whether more editing types are coming, as well.

Microsoft rolls out Release Candidate of Visual Studio 2013 Update 3

Microsoft has made available the near-final Release Candidate build of Visual Studio 2013 and Team Foundation Server 2013 Update 3.

Both are available under a "go-live" license. The RC is expected to be the last test build before Update 3 is released in final form in the next month or two. Microsoft also is planning to deliver an Update 4 to Visual Studio 2013.

Update 3 includes CodeLens support for Git; an option for mixed case (not just all caps) as a menu option; and various usability fixes.

About that Microsoft smartwatch... or smartband

It's increasingly sounding like Microsoft's first wearable device is likely to be a smartband, rather than a smartwatch.

Tom's Hardware reported earlier this week that the long-rumored Microsoft device could take more of a fitness-band form.

Windows SuperSite's Paul Thurrott, citing his own sources, said to expect the coming Microsoft smartband to be more like the Gear Fit. It's supposedly launching this fall, will do all the usual monitoring and notifications and support not just Windows and Windows Phone, but iOS and Android, as well. The device's display is expected to be on the inside, rather than the outside, of the wrist.

A group of Microsoft employees applied in October 2012 for a "wearable personal information system," as The Verge noted. That patent was issued at the start of May 2014.

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