Effective April 21, 2020, Microsoft is re-branding the Office 365 services that are widely used in small and medium-sized businesses to become “Microsoft 365.”

          By Brian Allison, April 21, 2020

New Product Names

The new product names go into effect on April 21, 2020. This is a change to the product name only, and there are no pricing or feature changes at this time.

  • Office 365 Business Essentials will become Microsoft 365 Business Basic.
  • Office 365 Business Premium will become Microsoft 365 Business Standard.
  • Microsoft 365 Business will become Microsoft 365 Business Premium.
  • Office 365 Business and Office 365 ProPlus will both become Microsoft 365 Apps. Where necessary we will use the “for business” and “for enterprise” labels to distinguish between the two.

(for a full comparison of the features for each service, see the “Microsoft Office 365 Rebranding and Comparison” matrix, view / download here .)

These are MS services aimed at businesses with no more than 300 users, which is a license limitation imposed by MS. For businesses with more than 300 users, MS has the “Enterprise” services, which will continue to use the “Office 365” branding.

Authors note: I spent more than a decade working for Dell, serving primarily Large Enterprise customers. More than 90% of what we sold to these customers ran Microsoft Windows operating systems and applications. This meant our team was very familiar and comfortable with the Microsoft product set. Nonetheless, there were always Microsoft Licensing Specialists available to our team, and we made use of their expertise on a regular basis. Microsoft is notorious for creating complex licensing requirements, with multiple versions of the same product, differing only by the licensing requirements and applicability. These large corporation’s IT departments lived in fear of a ‘software license reviews’  delivered by the BSA/The Software Alliance, which could lead to hefty demands for make-good payments based on license violations, despite actual usage, good intentions, or ability to understand the often-conflicting licensing verbiage.

FAQ from Microsoft on these changes

  1. Why is Microsoft making these changes?
    First, we want our products to reflect the range of features and benefits in the subscription. Microsoft 365is an integrated set of apps and services that puts Artificial Intelligence and other cutting-edge innovations to work for you. And for small and medium-sized businesses, that includes new capabilities in Microsoft Teams to help you host rich meetings and events online; cloud file storage and sharing capabilities so you can collaborate from anywhere, and security and identity solutions to safeguard your businesses. Second, we’re always looking for ways to simplify. This new approach to naming our products is designed to help you quickly find the plan you need and get back to your business. (editor emphasis and note: Microsoft said, “simplify.” Ha!)
  2. What Office 365 plan names aren’t changing?
    The following Office 365 plans will have no changes:
  • Office 365 for Enterprise
    • Office 365 E1
    • Office 365 E3
    • Office 365 E5
  • Office 365 for Firstline Workers
    • Office 365 F1
  • Office 365 for Education
    • Office 365 A1
    • Office 365 A3
    • Office 365 A5
  • Office 365 for Government
    • Office 365 G1
    • Office 365 G3
    • Office 365 G5

What Microsoft 365 plans are available?

Microsoft 365 for home plans (not licensed for commercial use)

  • Microsoft 365 Family
  • Microsoft 365 Personal

Microsoft 365 for business plans (not more than 300 licenses per entity)

  • Microsoft 365 Business Basic
  • Microsoft 365 Business Standard
  • Microsoft 365 Business Premium
  • Microsoft 365 Apps for business

Microsoft 365 for enterprise plans (no license count limitation)

  • Microsoft 365 E3
  • Microsoft 365 E5
  • Microsoft 365 F1
  • Microsoft 365 Apps for enterprise

What is the difference between Office 365 and Microsoft 365?

Microsoft 365 includes everything you know in Office 365. Microsoft 365 is designed to help people and businesses achieve more with innovative Office apps, intelligent cloud services, and world-class security.

Does Microsoft 365 cost more?

No, the subscription cost will not change.