Microsoft 365 offers a one-stop subscription to Office and Windows


— 5:00 PM on July 11, 2017

More than a few times, folks around here have speculated about Microsoft making its Windows OS available to consumers through a subscription. As it turns out, those speculations were mostly correct. The company has taken the wraps off of Microsoft 365, its new subscription service designed for enterprises of all sizes.

Microsoft 365 includes Office 365 Enterprise, Windows 10 Enterprise, and Enterprise Mobility + Security. There are a few variations of the subscription plan. Microsoft 365 Business is designed for organizations with 300 or fewer users. Microsoft wants to make IT tasks easier and more centralized for businesses of all sizes, and with Microsoft 365 busineses will be able to set up and manage employee devices from a single dedicated console. Microsoft will also debut new small-business-oriented marketing, expense-tracking, and invoicing tools with Office 365 Business, as well.

Microsoft 365 Enterprise 365 is targeted at large organizations, and will be available in two tiers: Microsoft 365 E3 and Microsoft 365 E5. It replaces the popular Secure Productive Enterprise suite. In addition to the expected suite of productivity apps, the Enterprise variants of Microsoft 365 provide more communication tools and more robust security options. Microsoft 365 E3, for example, includes PSTN conferencing and Microsoft's Cloud PBX software, which replaces phone systems with calling features integrated into Skype for Business.

Microsoft 365 Enterprise will be available for purchase starting in August. Organizations interested in a quote will have to contact Microsoft directly. A "public preview" of Microsoft 365 Business will start in August, and worldwide availability will begin sometime thereafter in the fall. Microsoft 365 Business will carry a price tag of $20 a month for every connected user.

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