Microsoft just unveiled Microsoft 365 — a bundle for businesses that includes the Office 365 cloud productivity suite, a copy of the Windows 10 operating system, and a bunch of management tools and other goodies for the IT department.
Microsoft 365 was announced at the company’s Inspire conference in Washington, DC. Like Office 365, from which Microsoft 365 gets its name, this will be a subscription bundle, where IT departments will pay a monthly cost per user.
That cost isn’t necessarily fixed — Microsoft is mainly making this 365 bundle available through brokers, who resell services like this to their IT department customers at their own markups.
The advantage of a subscription plan like this is that it gives customers a single, predictable monthly cost for the software they need to run their businesses, says Microsoft. Even as the PC industry shrinks overall, Windows and Office is still the de facto standard for computing in most workplaces around the globe.
What’s old, what’s new
Microsoft already offered an all-in-one plan very similar to this for its largest customers, most recently called the Secure Productive Enterprise package. That plan is now known as Microsoft 365 Enterprise, and is available immediately, given a lack of dramatic changes.
A really new service is Microsoft 365 Business, which now offers this combined package to small- and medium-sized business for the first time. It’s basically designed to be a one-stop-shop to get even the smallest companies up and running on Windows and Office. Microsoft 365 Business will be in a public preview starting on August 2nd.
In the bigger picture, Microsoft is positioning this as a way to accelerate its goal of hitting a $US20 billion run rate for its all-important cloud computing business within the next year or so. Amazon currently rules the cloud computing market with its Amazon Web Services juggernaut, so Microsoft is doubling down on business customers, where it’s historically ruled the proverbial roost.
This package also reflects Microsoft’s new gameplan for selling cloud computing services to businesses — last week, Microsoft announced a big reorganization of its sales force as the company looks to streamline and simplify how it sells cloud computing services to businesses. Following that reorganization, Microsoft laid off thousands of salespeople all over the globe.
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