The Many Faces of Office 365

by Ed Sparks

Updated: July 18
Microsoft has recently announced updates to its Office 365 offerings, which represent a significant improvement, addresses many of our ongoing complaints with the small business plans, and for many a substantial price drop.  There will be some initial confusion, but good news come October all around!

Again, from Paul Thurrott:

Last week, Microsoft announced some major changes to its Office 365 versions for small and medium-sized businesses, triggering an avalanche of questions. And with the fog of war starting to finally fade, I feel like I have a better handle on what this will mean to those SMBs who are already on Office 365 but are unsure how these changes will impact them.

The good news? The changes are all positive. For customers with small business versions of Office 365—that is, Office 365 Small Business and Office 365 Small Business Premium—your subscriptions will be upgraded somewhat (albeit in ways that will impact few customers) and the cost of those subscriptions will remain the same. For midsized businesses, however—those with Office 365 Midsized Business subscriptions—the news is even better: You're about to realize a significant price reduction.


Microsoft offers a dizzying array of options for Office 365, and unfortunately causes confusion between the various options as are some are hosted on their consumer services ( Accounts), while the majority are on the Business Service platform (Exchange/SharePoint/Lync/OneDrive for Business/Organization Accounts).  Further confusing matters is that there are software-only subscriptions, and many are under the false impression that "Office 365" refers only to this, and not services at all.

Paul Thurrott at has written a superb article documenting the various intricacies of the service offerings.   Well worth a read.

It is our hope, along with many others in the Microsoft community, that they will soon merge all of these services into one platform and end the confusion.

In the mean time, regardless of version, we continue to believe it's a fantastic service and value and superior to most offerings in the marketplace.

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