Microsoft’s Upcoming License Rate Increase
Microsoft is increasing prices of its Office 365 and Microsoft 365 services for the first time in a decade. This new pricing reflects the improved value they’ve provided over the last 10 years. Let’s look at some of the breakthroughs they’ve made in three major areas over the last decade: communications and collaboration, security and compliance, and AI and automation, as well as the addition of audio conferencing capabilities.
10 Years of Continuous Innovation
Since its launch a decade ago, Office 365 has grown to over 300 million commercial paid seats. Along the way, Microsoft has continuously re-invested to meet the changing needs of their customers. Four years ago, Microsoft introduced Microsoft 365 to bring together the best of Office, Windows, and Enterprise Mobility and Security (EMS). That same year they added Microsoft Teams as the only integrated solution where you can meet, chat, call, collaborate, and automate business processes—right in the flow of work.
Since introducing Microsoft 365 they have added 24 apps to the suites — Microsoft Teams, Power Apps, Power BI, Power Automate, Stream, Planner, Visio, OneDrive, Yammer, and Whiteboard — and have released over 1,400 new features and capabilities in three key areas.
Communication and Collaboration
Microsoft Teams is the new front end across work, life, and learning for more than 250 million monthly active users. Microsoft launched Teams in 2017 as the only integrated solution where you can meet, chat, call, collaborate, and automate business processes — with the power of the Office apps — all within the flow of work. In 2020 alone they released over 300 new capabilities including Together mode, background effects, large gallery view, raise hand, live reactions, breakout rooms, live captions with speaker attribution, and Fluid components, just to name a few.
Microsoft introduced a new category of collaborative applications in Teams, empowering people and organizations for hybrid work through deep integrations with Power Platform, Whiteboard, Lists, Planner, Shifts, Forms, and SharePoint. Companies like Adobe, Atlassian, Salesforce, SAP, ServiceNow, and Workday have built apps that deeply integrate with Teams, bringing business processes and functions directly into the flow of work.
Microsoft continues to innovate on both real-time and asynchronous collaboration. They introduced real-time collaboration in Word, Excel, and PowerPoint desktop apps while a growing set of capabilities like @mentions, assign tasks, modern comments, and auto-save have streamlined the collaboration experience. They have added and expanded OneDrive cloud storage and the Exchange Online mailboxes.
Security and Compliance
The cybersecurity landscape is more complex than ever. With the accelerating volume, sophistication, and scale of cyberattacks, security and compliance are a priority for every organization. Since Microsoft first introduced Microsoft 365, they have added new attack surface reduction capabilities to help organizations defend against ransomware and other threats. Microsoft has added capabilities like data loss prevention (DLP) for email and documents, sensitivity labels, and message encryption to help keep important data within the organization. They have added powerful compliance capabilities that help organizations reduce risk and respond to increasing regulatory requirements such as Content Search, eDiscovery, and core Litigation Hold. Built-in mobile device management (MDM) and other management tools like Microsoft Endpoint Manager help admins support remote and hybrid workforces.
AI and Automation
Over the past decade, Microsoft has infused AI capabilities across our productivity and collaboration applications to help everyone achieve more. Across Microsoft 365, they have introduced AI-powered innovations to help users be better writers, designers, and presenters. Cloud-powered AI now automatically creates maps, charts, and tables in Excel, and sorts email and removes clutter in Outlook. AI-powered real-time translation, captions, and transcription make collaboration and communication more accessible and engaging for everyone.
Extending Audio Conferencing
Microsoft announced that they will add unlimited dial-in capabilities for Microsoft Teams meetings across enterprise, business, frontline, and government suites over the next few months. Even as cloud connectivity increases, they know that people join Teams meetings while they are on the go or struggling with a bad internet connection. Currently included with Microsoft 365 E5 and Office 365 E5, they have come to see dial-in as an important part of the complete Teams experience. Available with subscription in over 70 countries and with interactive support in 44 languages and dialects, unlimited dial-in provides peace of mind that users will be able to join their Microsoft Teams meeting from virtually any device regardless of location. Adding this feature will help improve connectivity and conferencing options when using Teams to communicate and connect with your organization.
New Rate Changes
Microsoft is raising the price of its Office 365 and Microsoft 365 services for the first time in a decade. The price hikes will affect commercial and business users of Microsoft’s software as a service (SaaS) services next year, but there will be no changes in education or consumer pricing.
Microsoft’s updated pricing will go into effect on March 1st, 2022:
- Microsoft 365 Business Basic (from $5 to $6 per user)
- Microsoft 365 Business Premium (from $20 to $22)
- Office 365 E1 (from $8 to $10)
- Office 365 E3 (from $20 to $23)
- Office 365 E5 (from $35 to $38)
- Microsoft 365 E3 (from $32 to $36)
As leaders around the world look to empower their people for a more flexible, hybrid world of work, it’s clear that every organization will need a new operating model across people, places, and processes. Microsoft is committed to building on the value we’ve delivered over the past decade to continuously provide innovation that helps our customers succeed and thrive today and well into the future.