Microsoft 365 is a collection of subscription-based cloud services. It used to be called Office 365, but now includes a lot more than just core Office features, it seems like the rebranding was in order.
The entire computing world is rapidly moving towards SaaS (software as a service) and software subscription models, rather than direct licensing. Microsoft 365 is a mixture of both developments. If you haven’t experienced this before, it can come as a shock to the computer culture. So let’s dispel all these doubts and explain in detail what Microsoft 365 is.
Cloud what now?
“The cloud” refers to computers that operate in data centers around the world. If you’re using a service like Gmail or Drive, then you’re using the cloud We access cloud services over the Internet. So, for example, when you copy a file to the DropBox folder, that information is sent to a computer in the data center, which then stores it for you.
With cloud software, you don’t need a monster computer at all. Most of the hard work is done by the remote computer. All you need is a working internet connection. This does not mean that your local computer is not doing anything!
Some aspects of the service run locally, while others run on a remote computer. Cloud apps like Google Docs allow you to keep working even when the internet is disconnected, with everything syncing when the connection is restored.
How does Microsoft 365 work?
To use Microsoft 365, all you have to do is sign up for a Microsoft account, if you don’t have one, and then pay a monthly fee. There are various plans available, which we’ll look at in more detail below.
After registration, you can access cloud services from any browser connected to the Internet. Microsoft 365 also includes software that you can download to your computer and use offline. Let’s consider the proposal in more detail.
Microsoft 365: What do you get?
Microsoft offers different 365 packages to suit different audiences. There are three levels:
- Home users
- Business users
- Enterprise customers
We’re only going to focus on the first two types of plans, because if you’re the CEO of a large company reading this, you’d better just call Microsoft for a price.
The cheapest option is Microsoft 365 Personal. This is a single-user subscription that includes all applications and services offered at the home level.
This way you get Word, Excel, PowerPoint, OneNote, Outlook, Access, and Publisher The last two on the list are only available on PC. By the way, you can also unlock the full versions of the Office mobile apps for Android and iOS Typically, these apps allow you to open and view documents only if you are not a paid subscriber.
What does Microsoft 365 cost?
When it comes to Microsoft 365, there are many pricing options. We will only consider the generally available pricing for home and small business users. Pricing for educational institutions and enterprises is something you will have to negotiate directly with Microsoft.
Also, before we talk about specific pricing, be sure to check if you already have free access to Microsoft 365. Many companies have a site license that provides Microsoft 365 to their employees. This also means that you can use it on your personal computer. If you’ve recently bought a new PC, or plan to do so, you can also get access to Microsoft 365 for a period ranging from a few months to a year.
For those who have to pay in the usual way, there are two main options. You can pay monthly at a relatively higher price, or buy annually. Annual plans actually give you two months for free for each year you subscribe. So it doesn’t make a big difference.
Home users have the following options:
- Microsoft 365 Personal – One user subscription for $ 6.99 / month or $ 69.99 / year.
- Microsoft 365 Family – 6-user license subscription for $ 9.99. per month or $ 99.99 per year.
As you can see, even if you only live in a 2 person family, the family plan offers the best value for money. Microsoft has done a good job of separating additional user accounts. As long as the main account has a good reputation, everyone will have the same experience as the main user.
Business subscriptions are slightly more diverse:
- Business Basic includes cloud services and only web and mobile versions of Word, Excel, and PowerPoint for $ 5 / user / month. Paid annually.
- Business Standard adds desktop versions of Word, Outlook, Excel, PowerPoint, Publisher and Access for $ 12.50 / user / month. Paid annually.
- Business Premium includes all standard as well as advanced security features for $ 20 / user / month. Paid annually.
- Microsoft 365 apps include OneDrive only along with premium desktop apps at $ 8.25 / user / month. Paid annually.
In addition to an app-only business subscription, Teams, Exchange and Sharepoint are the core value here. These apps make it easy to collaborate with colleagues. Although the home version of Microsoft 365 does include Skype with free 60-minute calls to landlines.
Can I still buy Microsoft Office?
Yes! Microsoft still offers a one-time purchase of Office. This does not include cloud services. You also only get three apps: Word, Excel, and Powerpoint. These are also the classic non-cloud 365 apps that you get with the subscription model.
These applications can also only be used on one computer, so you will have to pay a one-time fee multiple times for multiple computers. We do not recommend going this route for most people, even students. Especially since some student-focused laptops may ship with Microsoft 365 for free for a year or two.
What are the main advantages of Microsoft 365?
So why buy Microsoft 365 instead of a one-time purchase of Microsoft Office? Here are the main benefits:
- You always have the latest version of the included Microsoft applications.
- You get a lot of cloud storage.
- Full unlock version of Office mobile applications.
- Collaboration and communication with colleagues has become much easier.
- You can log into any computer and start working from where you left off.
Very few people are working in a bubble these days, so this new cloud offering is the smartest choice for most users.
Who should get Microsoft 365?
If you agree to pay a monthly fee, we can confidently say that almost everyone will be happy with a Microsoft 365 subscription. This is especially beneficial when you consider the family plan, which allows five independent users to download the entire Office suite to their computer and access their own terabyte. cloud storage.
The main caveat is that you are in this relationship for eternity. You will pay a commission for as long as you need the service. If you want to have productivity apps on a computer that won’t have Internet access, then you might want to consider a one-time purchase. However, for these users, we recommend saving money and choosing one of the many free alternatives to Microsoft Office.