Microsoft will release three new Office 365 licenses for small and mid-size businesses (SMBs). The new plans will replace Microsoft's existing Office products for SMBs. Changes include price reductions, increased seat caps and more flexibility to upgrade to Office 365 Enterprise.

The new plans, which will go into effect on October 1, include Office 365 Business, which contains a full suite of Office applications and 1TB of storage; Office 365 Business Essentials, which includes business email and calendar, Office Online, online meetings, IM, video conferencing, and cloud storage; and Office 365 Business Premium, which includes everything from the aforementioned plans.

The new plans will replace current plans, Small Business, Small Business Premium and Midsize Business. Office 365 Business will cost roughly $8.25 a month (about £4.80, AU$8.80). Business Essentials will cost $5 a month (about £2.90, AU$5.30). Business Premium will cost $12.50 a month (about £7.30, AU$13.30).

Beginning October 1, 2015 existing Microsoft Office SMB customers will need to select one of the plans in order to keep their Office licenses.

StorSimple

Microsoft also released the StorSimple 8000 series hybrid storage arrays, which include two new Azure-based capabilities to centralize data management. The new StorSimple 8000 series features the StorSimple 8100 and the StorSimple 8600.

Both platforms leverage Azure Storage as a hybrid cloud tier for automatic capacity expansion and off-site data protection. They each also come with the Microsoft Azure StorSimple Virtual Appliance, which enables StorSimple technology to run as an Azure virtual machine.

The Virtual Appliance enables disaster recovery by enabling virtual applications that store data on the 8100 or 8600 to access previously uploaded data.

The 8100 and 8600 also come with Microsoft Azure's StorSimple Manager, which consolidates management of all Azure and StorSimple platforms and appliances. Administrators can now centrally control all aspects of StorSimple storage and data management from the cloud.

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