On April 21, 2020, Microsoft officially switched its line of office suites from Office 365 to Microsoft 365. Most Office users will be immediately familiar with the software suite. Incorporating familiar names such as Word, Excel, and PPT, Microsoft 365 includes a comprehensive suite of software for personal and business use. While some software can be used for free, Microsoft 365 is generally considered a paid subscription with varying prices based on usage. Read on to learn more about the differences between Microsoft and Office 365 and what you get for your money.
What’s in a name?
It is quite fair to think that the new naming convention is confusing. In reality, the name is much less important than whether Microsoft 365 meets your needs. That said, Office 365 was generally viewed as a cloud-based suite of applications and services focused on the productivity needs of the business. It included familiar apps like Word, PowerPoint, and Excel, along with other notable apps like Skype for Business, Yammer, OneDrive, Teams, Planner, and more. Office 365 was a subscription-based service that offered plans for individuals up to enterprise-level pricing.
On the other hand, Microsoft 365 is seen as an all-in-one package that includes everything related to Office 365 as well as smart cloud services as well as world-class security. There are three types of Microsoft 365: Home, Business, and Enterprise, and it’s available for Windows and macOS users.
There is no doubt that for the uninformed user this is all very confusing. If you were already paying for Office 365 before April 21, 2020, you already have Microsoft 365. When Microsoft 365 launched, Microsoft unveiled a host of new features that were automatically included for all users. It includes new tools for writing on the web, managing finances, and a new way to connect with family and friends.
What’s new in Microsoft 365?
When you buy a Microsoft 365 subscription, you get a number of tools and software:
- power point
- A note
- Access (PC only)
- Editor (PC only)
- OneDrive (1TB)
- Skype (60 minutes to call mobile phones and landlines)
- Compatibility on PC, macOS, Android and iOS
- Advanced security features to protect against malware and phishing attacks
So what’s new between the two services other than the name? On the one hand, Microsoft Editor is now included for all Microsoft 365 subscribers. Microsoft’s answer to Grammarly, this AI-based service is available in over twenty languages. Accessible in Word, Outlook.com, and browser extensions in Edge and Chrome, Editor has a variety of features.
Standard services like basic spelling and grammar are editor-checked, as are more advanced grammar and style refinements to write more clearly and concisely. For students and teachers, there is also a plagiarism check to make sure all written content is original. Outlook users also benefit from Editor by making sure that emails don’t go to your bosses riddled with spelling mistakes.
Are you a frequent PowerPoint presenter? Microsoft 365 adds AI that helps coach anyone giving a presentation. This feature double-checks in real time to make sure you’re not speaking too fast, saying too much “umm” or just reading your slides. You will also receive grammar suggestions to improve your speech.
Money management is still an important tool, and Microsoft’s new solution to manage, track, and analyze your money is incredibly convenient. “Money in Excel” allows you to link bank and credit card accounts directly to Excel, download transaction details and import them into a budget or financial spreadsheet.
“Microsoft Family Safety” is also new with the release of Microsoft 365. This new service is a great tool for parents who want to manage family screen time on any software where Microsoft services are available. This includes Windows 10, Android, and Xbox. Family members receive location sharing notifications so you can see where family members are on a map. Parents can also receive a notification when a child arrives at work or school.
What about Microsoft Teams?
Microsoft Teams is kind of an anomaly in the Microsoft 365 space. Microsoft 365 business users receive Teams as part of their subscription. Home users are blocked on Skype with their family, personal or student subscriptions. However, in light of the COVID19 pandemic, Microsoft made the smart decision at the end of June and made teams available for personal use to stay in touch with friends and family.
For personal use, Teams includes the basics like video calling, text chatting, uploading and sharing files and documents, and a calendar. Business subscribers will benefit from the full range of features as well as the ability to remove the 300 user cap. It also increases the storage cap from 1 GB per user on the free account to 1 TB for corporate subscribers.
How much does it cost?
For the most part, Microsoft’s release of Microsoft 365 did not deviate from the pricing model of Office 365.
- Personal (one user): $ 6.99 per month or $ 69.99 per year
- Family (up to six users): $ 9.99 per month or $ 99.99 per year
- Student 2019: $ 149.99 one-time purchase
- Basic (per user): $ 5.00 / month (based on an annual commitment) or $ 6.00 per month
- Standard (per user): $ 12.50 / month (based on an annual commitment) or $ 15.00 / user per month
- Premium (per user): $ 20.00 / month (based on annual commitment) with no monthly pricing option
Overall, Office 365 and Microsoft 365 don’t feel that different. In fact, they feel pretty much the same, except for the new features that probably would have been made to Office 365 anyway. However, the name changes make it seem more like Microsoft is trying to attract more home users. It could very well be a play on Google’s growing market share with Docs, Drive, Gmail, etc. Do you prefer Microsoft 365 or Google Docs?
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