Microsoft, flush with cash, raises cloud office suite prices for businesses

Microsoft 365, Office 365 to cost a little bit more from next March

Microsoft, burdened by growing demand for its cloud services and healthy revenue, said on Thursday that it will raise commercial prices for Microsoft 365 in six months.

The price change, which does not apply to consumer or education products, represents the first significant increase in the decade since predecessor Office 365 was introduced, said Jared Spataro, corporate veep for Microsoft 365, in a blog post.

He justified the selective inflation by saying it "reflects the increased value we have delivered to our customers over the past 10 years."

For those who might argue otherwise, Spataro goes on to cite the many features Microsoft has added to Microsoft 365, which debuted four years ago, and its first draft, Office 365, which launched in June 2011 – features for which the bill is now due.

Incidentally, last month Microsoft reported its net income was up 38 per cent for its fiscal 2021 year, translating to over $163m a day in profits.

Microsoft 365 expanded upon Office 365 with the addition of Windows, and Enterprise Mobility and Security (EMS). Then came Teams, for better or worse. By Spataro's count, 24 apps have been crammed into Microsoft's eponymous cloud suite, including Power Apps, Power BI, Power Automate, Stream, Planner, Visio, OneDrive, Yammer, and Whiteboard.

What's more, Spataro points out, Microsoft engineers have added more than 1,400 new bells and whistles in the past four years, particularly in tools like Teams.

"In 2020 alone we released over 300 new capabilities including Together mode, background effects, large gallery view, raise hand, live reactions, breakout rooms, live captions with speaker attribution, and Fluid components, just to name a few," he said.

Then there are the integrations. That's work, you know. Someone had to wire up all the collaborative apps in Teams like Power Platform, Whiteboard, Lists, Planner, Shifts, Forms, and SharePoint. And that's to say nothing about apps from Adobe, Atlassian, Salesforce, SAP, ServiceNow, and Workday that have been connected to Teams.

Spataro also highlighted the addition of real-time collaboration in the Word, Excel, and PowerPoint desktop apps, the many security and compliance enhancements like data loss prevention (DLP) for email and documents, and AI enhancements that arrange data and translate text.

How much would you pay for all this sweet suite, this cornucopia of digital diligence? Wait! Don't answer yet. Microsoft will also throw in unlimited dial-in capabilities for Microsoft Teams meetings across our enterprise, business, frontline, and government suites in the coming months. And it's ending support for Internet Explorer in Microsoft 365, for your own good. Now how much would you pay?

Well, Spataro the answer. Six months hence, on March 1, 2022, monthly subscription prices for commercial Microsoft 365 and Office 365 flavors will be as follows, subject to local market adjustments in specific regions:

  • Microsoft 365 Business Basic: $6, up from $5.
  • Microsoft 365 Business Premium: $22, up from $20.
  • Office 365 E1: $10, up from $8.
  • Office 365 E3: $23, up from $20
  • Office 365 E5: $38, up from $35
  • Microsoft 365 E3: $36, up from $32

Feel free to thank Microsoft directly. ®

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