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Microsoft updates business package pricing

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5th Nov 2014
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Microsoft has updated its pricing on its small to medium sized business packages, following on from customer feedback.

In addition, the IT giant's vice president said in a blog that the new prices are part of its "longstanding commitment" to bringing cloud based productivity to its small to medium sized user base.

The new packages are priced at:

  • Office 365 Business is now £7.00 per month. This gets you Microsoft's full desktop package, including Outlook, Excel and Word
  • Office 365 Business Essentials is now £3.10 per month. This is Microsoft's cloud offering and includes Office Online, cloud storage and business class email 
  • Office 365 Premium is now £7.80 per month, which includes all of Office 365 features, both desktop and online 

Business Essentials and Business users will see the maximum number of users they can add raised from 25 to 300. The Premium plan already carries over the 300-user maximum from the Midsize Business plan.

Existing Office 365 business customers can stay with their existing plans if they like, and need to do nothing until their first renewal after 1 October 2015. 

After this date, users need to select one of three plans when their next renewal comes around. 

In addition to pricing, Microsoft has also expanded data loss prevention (DLP) beyond Outlook, to SharePoint, OneDrive and Office 365."

"People collaborate and share sensitive information in many ways beyond email. For example, they might have sensitive content in Word documents or Excel spreadsheets created in client applications, and then share those documents with others in SharePoint or OneDrive for Business," it wrote in a recent blog.

The enhancement by Microsoft of collaboration capabilities within Office 365, and their wish for those to "control data and act on it in real time) has led to the release. 

Its drive toward the cloud also led to Microsoft announcing an agreement with Azure in recent weeks, launching a Cloud Platform System (CPS) Azure offering that will run on customer's premises but connect to the company's public Azure cloud and run Azure software.

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By Charlie Carne
05th Nov 2014 14:51

Office 365

This is a welcome move by Microsoft. Their previous O365 plans were tortuously complex and more expensive. They have now simplified their myriad offerings to the three packages listed in Rachael's article (online storage OR desktop licenses for MS Office OR both) for businesses with up to 300 users and then approximately replicated these three packages for businesses with more than 300 users (for whom there are additional security features).

At £3.10 per user per month for the online storage solution, this is a fantastic deal for managing your complete email, calendar and contacts solution (i.e. the things typically run via Outlook) through a hosted system that effectively replicates what big businesses run via MS Exchange. It can be set up for a single user or a company with thousands of users. In addition, the package also now includes 1TB of file storage (equivalent to DropBox) that allows you to back-up (or run from the cloud) all of your files and to share individual files or folders with clients via a password-protected web page. At that price, anyone still using POP email should give this serious consideration, as you gain huge efficiencies when running email via Exchange instead of POP. All your devices will now synchronise their email, calendar and contacts; an email, once read (or deleted or moved) on one device will show as read (or deleted or moved) on every other device.

If you don't already have a desktop license for MS Office, or wish to upgrade to the latest version of Office (2013), an extra £4.70 pm (£7.80 - £3.10) gives you a license to install it on up to five PCs or Macs, as well as on tablets (including iPad) and smartphones.

I am currently running my office IT via a hosted desktop solution, but I am about to test Office 365 for its Exchange functionality, as this offers more flexibility than Exchange via my hosted desktop. The addition of the capability to share spreadsheets and other files with clients for only £3.10 pm makes it worthwhile, even if I continue to use the hosted desktop to run my applications.

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By Petra@Microsoft Small Business
05th Nov 2014 15:09

thanks for feedback...

Hi Charlie,

Thank you for your detailed feedback - it sounds like you are an expert user, but do let me know if you would like to speak to a Microsoft specialist - [email protected]

Petra - Microsoft Small Business UK

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By Charlie Carne
05th Nov 2014 16:08

Not an expert

Thank you, Petra.

I'm not an expert and I have not yet used O365, but I've been looking at it for some time, since I first saw it demo'd at the ICAEW in 2010 (I think it was that long ago). It is only recently that Microsoft have simplified the offering enough to make it worthwhile for me to use, given that I already use Exchange via a hosted desktop. I am about to change my hosted desktop provider, but none of the companies that I've spoken to use O365, as they prefer to use their own Exchange servers (using older MS technology). As I have had considerable problems with my current host's Exchange installation, I would prefer to rely on Microsoft's SLA, which seems to be very good for O365 uptime.

As for a specialist, I have been talking to Stephen Hind at Dr Pete Inc, who has been extremely helpful and the most knowledgeable person I've spoken to on the subject. I am about to implement an installation with them for myself and two clients.

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By grumpy83
06th Nov 2014 13:24

Before I saw this, I was thinking of upgrading my laptop which would then bring Office365 into the equation.

Can O365 be installed on a Samsung Tab2 10.1 and a Samsung Galaxy mobile for creating and editing documents?  I've asked this question in various retailers and can't get a straight answer.

Our son seems to have this inter-action between his computer and iPad & iPhone, but there seems to be conflicting opinions about this with Samsung androids.

Please, non-techy answers.  Very much a case of if in doubt ask the grandchildren!

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By Charlie Carne
06th Nov 2014 16:33

@grumpy83

I believe that the license will allow you to install a number of devices, but don't buy it from a high street retailer - they usually have no idea what they are talking about and they certainly don't understand licensing! Go to the Microsoft O365 site here and you can buy it direct from MS. If you're looking at the £7 Business package, I'd recommend paying 80p more pm to get the Exchange email functionality. To check on licensing, stay on the web page and a "chat" window will appear, where you can ask detailed questions of MS directly.

As for compatibility with the operating systems on those devices, I'm not sure what they use (possibly Android?), so ask the MS expert on the chat window if Android tablets and phones can use O365. I'm not sure there is an Android version yet, though there is a version for Macs and iPads.

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By Petra@Microsoft Small Business
07th Nov 2014 13:47

Hi Grumpy83... I hope this will make you Happy83 - its on the way! and you can signup for a preview using the below link:

http://aka.ms/accountingwebandroid

Petra

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