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What is Microsoft 365? Microsoft's most important subscription bundle, explained


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Microsoft 365 is becoming a centerpiece of Redmond's cloud strategy. Here's everything you need to know about what it is and how it's evolving.

What is Microsoft 365, in a nutshell?


Microsoft 365 is an integrated bundle of Windows 10, Office 365 and Enterprise Mobility + Security (aka EMS, which includes Intune device management, analytics and some Azure Active Directory capabilities), sold on a subscription basis. Microsoft 365 is the evolution of the bundles formerly known as "Secure Productive Enterprise E3 and E5."

Credit: Microsoft

How long has Microsoft 365 been around?


Microsoft introduced the Microsoft 365 concept at its partner conference in July 2017. The first two editions (Business and Enterprise) became available for purchase in early August 2017.


As part of its recent company-wide reorg, Microsoft made a subset of the Windows 10 team part of the Microsoft 365 organization. Corporate Vice President Brad Anderson now has overall responsibility for Microsoft 365, all-up.


What are the different Microsoft 365 variants or editions?


Microsoft currently offers a handful of targeted Microsoft 365 bundles. These are:

  • Microsoft 365 Enterprise: For companies with more than 300 users. It's available in two options -- with Windows 10 Enterprise (E3 or E5), plus Office 365 and EMS.
  • Microsoft 365 Business: For small-to-mid-sized businesses (SMBs) with up to 300 users. It includes Windows 10 Pro, Office 365 and EMS.
  • Microsoft 365 F1: For "firstline"/customer service and support workers. This plan includes Windows 10 Enterprise, Office 365 F1 (formally Office 365 Enterprise K1) and EMS.
  • Microsoft 365 Education: For educational institutions, schools and classrooms. It comes in three options: A1, AE and A5.
  • Microsoft 365 Nonprofit: For not-for-profit organizations. This seems to be Microsoft 365 Business available at a reduced rate (best I can tell).
  • Microsoft 365 Government: For U.S. government and controactors holding controlled but unclassified information.

(Don't let the alphabet soup of acronyms here intimidate you. E3, E5, A1, K1, etc. are all plan designations carried over primarily from Office 365.)


Some Microsoft watchers have wondered whether Microsoft may be planning to introduce a Microsoft 365 for consumer/home users. So far, no such offering has been announced or leaked, however.


Can customers still buy the piece-parts of Microsoft 365 as standalone products? And for how long?


Microsoft is continuing to sell Windows 10 E3/E5, Windows 10 Pro, Office 365 and EMS separately and has not said it has plans to only offer these components as part of a bundle.


What is "Windows 10 Business"?


Windows 10 Business is a custom variant of Windows 10 that is only available as part of the Microsoft 365 Business plan. It includes everything in Win 10 Pro plus Windows Defender Security Controls, Windows AutoPilot, as well as hooks for Automatic Office apps deployment,


What is a "Microsoft 365-powered device"?


Shortly after announcing Microsoft 365, Microsoft officials began talking about Microsoft 365-powered devices. This was a new marketing term, and not actually a way that customers or organizations could buy or license a piece of hardware. It was simply meant to encourage customers to run one of the Microsoft 365 bundles on a Windows 10 machine.


Some Microsoft execs began describing Surface devices as Microsoft 365-powered. HP execs also have talked about the HP EliteBook x360 and HP Elite x2 under the Microsoft 365-powered banner.


The PCs that Microsoft partners introduced a year ago as being optimized for Windows 10 S also can be seen as good candidates for those running Microsoft 365 F1, as many companies would potentially be introduced in having their front-line workers run streamlined/locked-down devices. (Devices running Windows 10 S that subscribe to Microsoft 365 F1 will upgrade to Windows 10 Enterprise in S mode.)


Microsoft has been phasing out quietly the Microsoft 365-powered nomenclature and replacing it with "modern desktop experience powered by Microsoft 365." There are still some references on Microsoft web sites and documentation to "Microsoft 365-powered," but not many.


Will Microsoft begin reporting Microsoft 365 as part of its "commercial cloud" revenues in its financials?


Microsoft officials have not said they plan to start including Microsoft 365 as a component of its commercial cloud bucket, but I wouldn't be surprised to see this happen in the not-to-distant future, since Office 365 and Intune are already part of the commercial cloud figures Microsoft reports.


What constitutes the "Microsoft 365 development platform"?


At its Build 2018 developer conference this year, Microsoft dedicated an entire keynote to the concept of building on top of the Microsoft 365 platform.


Microsoft now has four major development platforms: Azure, Microsoft 365, Dynamics 365 and gaming. The Microsoft 365 piece takes the current Windows developer model and expands it with the Microsoft Graph, which is Microsoft's centralized API for connecting applications and services across devices, applications and services. The Graph is what is enabling a number of the cross-platform features, like Timeline and Sets, in Windows 10.


Why is Microsoft pushing Microsoft 365 so hard?


Microsoft is hoping lightning can strike twice when it comes to bundles. Office, a bundle of the company's productivity apps, became a huge business for Microsoft over the years. Since then, the company has been testing and fielding a variety of product bundles with the goal of selling more software and services via subscription, which gives Microsoft a dependable stream of recurring revenue.


Source: What is Microsoft 365? Microsoft's most important subscription bundle, explained (ZDNet - Mary Jo Foley)

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On 12/5/2018 at 3:32 PM, teodz1984 said:

Moving to Subscription MODEL .. make sure the $$$$$ are coming in ...

No cracks 


:'( What a shame ! :( ... The Office VL Version is so boring and has no features :s Instead, the Office365 Version is updated with the latest features and more :( 

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If you want more interesting features, by all means subscribe and pay for their services. ( Know Idid play  for my software legally)


Personally I don't know what's all the hype getting the latest and greatest updates on Office Productivity software.. There is nothing an old word processor can do most of the core stuff we need..  George Martin wrote most of his novels on a DOS machine on WordStar 4.0 .



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Sadly for Microsoft, not everyone is keen to jump on board. The sales pitch for Office 365 has always focused on shifting away from the big releases to a continually evolving office suite, with new features rolling out on an almost monthly basis. Yet, you don’t have to be a cynic to suggest that Ofice 365 still looks and feels an awful lot like the version that launched three years ago, which closely resembled the one that emerged back in 2012. Are we paying a subscription for software that’s constantly improving, its incremental improvements being overlooked because we've forgotten what we started with a few years ago? Or are we merely paying a monthly retainer for the same old Office?


If you’re a casual Office user making light use of basic features, or even an old-school power user with an established way of working, you might agree that Office hasn't changed noticeably in the past three years. In terms of the basic look and feel of its core features, Office 2016 wasn't a huge leap forwards from Office 2013, with much of the focus on collaborative editing and teamwork tools, alongside closer integration with OneDrive and Skype. Moreover, many of the post-2015 enhancements center on current Microsoft preoccupations, which may or may not interest you. Many focus on the pen and ink tools being pushed on the company’s Surface devices, or on support for the 3D content tools that came with the Windows 10 Creators Update



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  • 2 weeks later...

Microsoft has already announced that the next standalone version of Office, dubbed Office 2019, will be landing in the second half of this year. But don’t get excited: it’s unlikely to bring any radical new features, instead introducing improvements Office 365 subscribers have already seen in the desktop versions


Microsoft has given the clearest signal yet that Office 2019 will the final “perpetual licence” of Office . By perpetual it means that you pay once and can keep on using the software forever. Here, though, forever means until October 2025, which is when Microsoft says its support for the software will end. That’s the same day support ends for Office 2016, so it doesn’t take Columbo to work out that this could be one last fling – or thing – for perpetual versions of Office .


Microsoft has also made it clear that it’s gearing Office 2019 to corporate users – consumers may not even be able to buy Office 2019, but that’s not confirmed. And even corporates may be reluctant to bite as the software will only be supported on Windows 10. There’s no technical reason we know of for this, so it appears to be a tactical decision. In tandem with its decision to bar Office 2016 users from connecting to cloud services such as Exchange Online and OneDrive for Business after 13 October 2020, it’s clear that Microsoft wants everyone to shift to Office 365.


So in answer to the question, “Office 2019: What’s coming?”, we’d have to say “not a lot”. From hereon in, it’s 365 or nothing.


Source: PC Tech Authority


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  • 2 weeks later...

For me the subscription mode for software it is really not worth it. I can stay with a specific version some good time, not really need all the newest versions always.

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