Microsoft's new Office 365 plans aimed at small and medium businesses are now ready. After unveiling the plans last year, Microsoft decided to wait until after the launch of Office 2016 to make the transition more seamless. The new plans have been available since the start of the month, and businesses can start migrating to the new plans.
The Office 365 SMB plans, called Office 365 Business Essentials, Office 365 Business and Office 365 Business Premium, are designed to replace Microsoft's current Small Business, Small Business Premium and Midsize Business plans. The new plans start at just $5 (£3, AU$6) per month, or $60 (£39, AU$81) per year, and go up to $12.50 (£8, AU$17) per user per month, or $150 (£99, AU$204) annually.
Microsoft guarantees 99.9% uptime with these plans. Additionally, all three plans include 24/7 phone support for critical issues and on-premises Active Directory synchronization for single sign on.
Office 365 Business Premium
Business Premium is Microsoft's most expensive plan for SMBs. There is no annual commitment for the plan, and Microsoft is including all the features found on the lower tier plans.
Business Premium users have access to Office 2016, including Microsoft Word, Excel, PowerPoint, Outlook, OneNote and Publisher. Users can download and install Office on up to 5 Windows PCs or Macs, and the plan includes mobile access on smartphones, tablets and iPads. Office Online is also bundled with the plan.
The plan also includes web-based and social tools, including 1TB OneDrive for Business cloud storage, a 50GB email with Exchange sync for calendars and contacts, Lync for online business meetings, SharePoint for team collaboration and Yammer for internal communications and networking.
Business and Business Essentials
The Business Essentials plan is Microsoft's most affordable Office 365 bundle for SMBs. This plan doesn't include Office applications or mobile access to Office, but you will be able to access Office Online. It also includes all of the web-based and social tools found on the Business Premium plan.
At $8.25 (£5, AU$11) per month, the Business plan is the mid-range SMB offering. Like the Business Premium Plan, Business users have access to Office 2016 on up to 5 Macs or PCs, the ability to use Office apps on smartphones and tablets and the access to Office Online.
Office 365 Business comes with 1TB of OneDrive for Business, but the plan doesn't include features like Exchange email, Lync, SharePoint or Yammer.
Microsoft did not give any indications on whether the company will increase the OneDrive for Business storage limits. The company recently made headlines when it decided to reduce consumer storage limits on OneDrive.
- Read our review of the best cloud storage services
Article continues below