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Office 365 or Microsoft 365?: Licensing name changes explained

Recently, we saw a surprising announcement from Microsoft with regards to some of their commercial licensing plans.

The minefield that is Microsoft licensing can be tricky to navigate at the best of times, but this curveball has added a whole new level of complicated. Let me try and explain…

When Microsoft announced the launch of Microsoft 365 a few years ago, it was a very specific term used for a subscription bundle of Windows 10 Enterprise, Office 365 and the Enterprise Mobility + Security suite. As of 30th March 2020, that has changed and it was announced some of the Office 365 licensing plans were to adopt the Microsoft 365 branding as well. This means that some, but not all, of the Microsoft 365 branded commercial subscriptions will now include Windows and PC/device management tools.

To clarify, Microsoft are only rebranding some of its Office 365 Business Plans with the Microsoft 365 name.

Although, confusing as it seems, it’s important to note that Microsoft won’t be changing the pricing or what’s included in them. The name change was announced on March 30th, but you may have noticed that the official name changes came automatically into force on April 21st 2020.

Plans which are affected by the change include: 

  • Office 365 Business Essentials – which has been rebranded as Microsoft 365 Business Basic
  • Office 365 Business Premium – which has been rebranded Microsoft 365 Business Standard
  • Office 365 Business and Office 365 Pro Plus – which is now called Microsoft 365 Apps, with Microsoft using "for business" and "for enterprise" as labels to identify the two where necessary.

Plans which are not affected by the M365 name change and have kept their existing names are: 

Office 365 for Enterprise
Office 365 E1
Office 365 E3
Office 365 E5

Office 365 for Firstline
Office 365 F1 

Office 365 for Education
Office 365 A1
Office 365 A3
Office 365 A5

Office 365 for Government
Office 365 G1
Office 365 G3
Office 365 G5

In the blog post that Microsoft announced the name changes, officials said the new names are ultimately aimed at making things simpler for clients and to indicate that the Office suite is more than the well-known applications such as Excel, Word, PowerPoint.

At TSG, we’re well known advocates of these ‘hidden treasures’ and have helped businesses across the UK to realise the full potential of the additional tools available to them in the 365 application suite.

If you’d like to know more about the support we provide in utilising the likes of Teams, Power Automate and Power Apps to increase productivity and streamline processes throughout organisations, get in touch today.