Office 365 Becomes Microsoft 365
Microsoft recently announced that Office 365 will be renamed to Microsoft 365 as of April 21st. This is part of their shift away from the “stuffy” image of the Office 365 brand, and toward positioning the product as a more people-centric suite of apps. On April 21, Office 365 Personal and Office 365 Home will be replaced by Microsoft 365 Personal and Microsoft 365 Family subscriptions (up to six people). Both of these Microsoft 365 plans include everything already in Office 365, including desktop Office apps, plus new Office features spread across Word, Excel, PowerPoint, Outlook, and Microsoft Teams.
Microsoft 365 - Changes & New Features
The name Microsoft 365 may seem familiar to you because Microsoft 365 for businesses has been around since July 2017. It’s the more expensive Microsoft 365 Enterprise and Microsoft 365 Business subscription that includes business-specific security and management functionality.
While the March 30th announcement unveiled many new or redesigned features, the biggest and most transformative has to be about Microsoft Teams. Microsoft 365 Personal and Family plans include an expanded version of Microsoft Teams designed expressly for consumers. Previously positioned as a communication platform for organizations, Microsoft Teams will now be accessible to anyone with a Microsoft 365 Personal or Family subscription. Coming at a time when more people than ever are connecting with loved ones digitally, this is sure to be a welcome announcement.
Just like the enterprise version, Microsoft Teams for consumers also consists of multiple collaborative features under one umbrella but redesigned with a friendlier interface. The main feature is a group chat, which can be shared among multiple people. There’s also a dashboard view that can be used as a jumping-off point to have more detailed conversations, such as a direct phone call. Subscribers will be able to share their personal calendars or grocery lists, assign tasks to one another, and more. If you already use the app for work, not to worry. You can add your personal account on the mobile app and easily switch between your work and personal accounts to stay on top of calendars, chats, and tasks in and outside of work.
Expansion and Redesign of Office 365 to Microsoft 365
According to Yahoo Finance, Microsoft CVP of consumer and Edge and Bing marketing Liat Ben-Zur explained that the decision “to make Microsoft Teams more broadly available came after consumers said they wanted a single app to be able to chat with family and friends, make plans, access their calendars, and share files rather than dealing with multiple disparate apps.” Much like organizations, busy families are sure to benefit from streamlining their communications to avoid crossed wires. Beyond the day-to-day scheduling and communications, Microsoft Teams could be extra beneficial when families are planning bigger events, such as holidays.
In addition to the expansion and redesign of Microsoft Teams, Microsoft unveiled their new Microsoft Family Safety app, designed to keep your family safe across the digital and physical worlds Other features that will be part of the new Microsoft 365 subscriptions include an expanded AI-powered Microsoft Editor to help improve your writing, the new Microsoft Edge browser, an AI Presenter Coach in PowerPoint, and new functionality to manage your work and life commitments simultaneously in Outlook. With all these features, Microsoft is positioning Microsoft 365 as “the subscription for your life”.
The cost of the subscriptions has not changed, with a personal plan at $6.99 a month, and a family plan at $9.99 a month for up to 6 users.