“Microsoft has an unfortunate naming convention…” is a phrase I’ve uttered hundreds of times over the course of the last few years. That phrase almost always preceded a bumbling attempt to explain why we say things like “Office 365 migration” to mean “move your email to the cloud” or why “Office 365 Business Essentials” didn’t include Office. It’s right there in the name!
Well, while you’ve been busy sheltering in place, Microsoft has been hard at work changing labels. Office 365 will now become Microsoft 365 beginning April 21. Honestly, the name is no more descriptive, but they ARE attempting to reduce confusion.
Office 365 Business Essentials becomes Microsoft 365 Business Basic - “Basic” will include Microsoft’s long dominant business email service, 1 TB of OneDrive space, SharePoint, and Teams, as well as the web versions of Office applications.
Office 365 Business and Office 365 ProPlus become Microsoft 365 Apps - “Apps” will include the applications you typically envisage when you say “Microsoft Office”. These include Word, Excel, Outlook, and PowerPoint, in addition to Publisher and Access for the PC.
Office 365 Business Premium becomes Microsoft 365 Business Standard - “Standard” will include all the features of Basic and Apps combined.
The reality is that for many of our clients, Microsoft 365 Business Standard will be the license most users get and naming it “Standard” makes sense. If a user just needs the Apps without email for some reason, they’ll get “Apps” and that will be easy to understand. On the other hand “Business Basic” is not descriptive at all, and Microsoft continues to offer other products carrying the Office 365 label, so clarification is still needed.
Microsoft produces a dizzying array of productivity software that is continually developed and relied upon by organizations of all sizes around the world. Occasionally that will cause package names to change, and in this case the additional clarity is welcomed.