Business

Microsoft launches Office 365 for businesses, starting at $12/month per user

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After launching a new version of Office 365 for consumers a month ago, Microsoft has now opened the doors to small and midsize businesses wanting to subscribe to its cloud-connected version of Office.

I found the latest version of Office 365 for consumers to be quite good and full of great features (read my Office 365 review). The apps look and feel like the ones we’ve been using for years, but they have more functionality and work better with touch screens than any prior version. The new app suite is so feature-rich enough that the state of Texas recently signed a contract to bring more than 100,000 employees online with Office 365. Now more businesses and governments can get access to the new Office.

“This release unlocks new scenarios and delivers capabilities that far surpass anything available in browser-only solutions,” Microsoft Office Division President Kurt DelBene said in a statement clearly targeting Google Apps, Office 365’s biggest competition.

The business version of Office 365 is available today in 69 markets and 17 languages. Microsoft says it will launch the service in another 20 markets and 16 languages in the second quarter of this year.

Office 365 options for businesses

Businesses will have three options if they want to get on the Office 365 bandwagon:

Office 365 Small Business Premium — $150 per user per year ($12.50 per month)

Programs: Word, Excel, PowerPoint, OneNote, Outlook, Publisher, InfoPath, Access, and Lync

Microsoft touts this as an option if you have 1 to 10 employees. On top of the Office apps, you get “business grade email, shared calendars, website tools, and HD video conferencing.”

Office 365 Midsize Business — $180 per user per year ($15 per month)

Programs: Word, Excel, PowerPoint, OneNote, Outlook, Publisher, InfoPath, Access, Lync, Exchange Online, Lync Online, and SharePoint Online

The Midsize package costs more than the other options, but it does come with more features than the rest. Optimally designed for 10 to 250 employees, Office 365 for Midsize Business makes it easier to administrate every employee’s accounts with Active Directory integration, a web-based administration console, and business hours phone support.

Office 365 ProPlus — $144 per user per year ($12 per month)

Programs: Word, Excel, PowerPoint, OneNote, Outlook, Publisher, InfoPath, Access, and Lync

ProPlus is the big-boy option for businesses and can support any size that gets thrown at it. It doesn’t have Exchange Online, Lync Online, or SharePoint Online for employees, but it still offers a lot. Every user with a licence can use their Office 365 account on up to five devices, and there are IT tools for administrators.

Check out more photos of Office 365 below.

Businessman running with laptop via Shutterstock


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