There’s nothing more confusing than when a company undergoes a complete and total overhaul of some of their most popular products with very little warning. This is exactly the case with Microsoft 365 vs. Office 365, which underwent a huge rebrand in 2017 without much fanfare at all. Even after all these years, people are still left with questions about Microsoft 365 vs. Office 365. What’s the difference? Let’s break down what sets these two apart in an effort to come up with some answers.
Microsoft 365 vs. Office 365: Side-By-Side Comparison:
|Specs||Microsoft 365||Office 365|
|Product Type||Group of productivity, collaborative, and cloud-based software and services||Subscription SaaS platform for businesses|
|First Released||July 2017||October 2010|
|Operating System||Windows, Android, macOS, iOS||Windows 8, Windows 7, Windows Vista, Mac OS X 10.5 (and all later versions)|
|Included||Everything in Office 365 plus Windows 10 Enterprise, Enterprise Mobility + Security, Windows Intune||Outlook, Word, PowerPoint, Excel, Skype, SharePoint, OneDrive, Teams|
|Subscription Plans||Microsoft 365 Personal, Microsoft 365 Family, Microsoft 365 Apps for business, Microsoft 365 Apps for Enterprise, Microsoft 365 Education||Office 365 Personal, Office 365 Home, Office 365 Business, Office 365 ProPlus|
|Price||$69.99 (Personal)||$69.99 (Personal)|
Microsoft 365 vs. Office 365: Key Differences
Now that we have a better idea of the basic specifications for Microsoft 365 vs. Office 365, let’s take a look at the most important distinctions between the two. From what each subscription service includes to the different subscription plans available to the target audience for each, these are the key differences that exist between Microsoft 365 vs. Office 365.
Firstly, let’s break down what each subscription service includes. This is probably the most obvious way to set the two apart, as Microsoft 365 vs. Office 365 do vary slightly in their offerings. At its start, Microsoft 365 included everything in the Office 365 Business Premium subscription plus everything in Windows 10 Enterprise and everything in the the Enterprise Mobility + Security suite. It later added Outlook, OneDrive, Teams, SharePoint, and beyond. In essence, it’s everything included in Office 365 plus some additional products and services thrown in.
Office 365, on the other hand, was a lot more limited in scope. Though there were numerous tiers to choose from depending on your intended usage (which we’ll get into more down below), most Office 365 subscriptions came with the same basic products and services. These included Outlook, Word, PowerPoint, Excel, and numerous other Microsoft add-ons such as Skype, SharePoint, Teams, OneDrive, Outlook, and so on. If you had to pick a winner between what’s included in Microsoft 365 vs. Office 365, it’d have to be Microsoft 365.
- With a Microsoft 365 12‑month subscription, you can create, organize, and get things done.
- Bring out your best with premium Office apps, including Word, Excel, and PowerPoint.
- Easily access, edit, and share files and photos across all devices with 1 TB of OneDrive cloud storage.
- Keep it all together with Outlook, an ad‑free app for your email, calendars, to‑do lists and contacts plus security tools that keep your information protected.
- Protect your files with advanced security features like built‑in ransomware detection and recovery, and you can use two‑step identity verification to access your most important files in OneDrive Personal Vault.
Now that we know the difference in what’s included with Microsoft 365 vs. Office 365, it’s worth breaking down the different subscription plans that fall under each umbrella. The primary plans for Microsoft 365 are as follows:
- Microsoft 365 Personal
- Microsoft 365 Family
- Microsoft 365 Apps for Business
- Microsoft 365 Apps for Enterprise
- Microsoft 365 Education
Office 365, by comparison, had some very similar-sounding subscription plans to choose from. They included:
- Office 365 Personal
- Office 365 Home
- Office 365 Business
- Office 365 ProPlus
Most noticeable about these subscription plans? The fact that Microsoft 365 has far more to choose from than Office 365. All in all, Microsoft 365 has more than a dozen subscription tiers across its Private, Business, Enterprise, Education, and Firstline umbrellas. Office 365 offered merely a fraction.
This leads us to our third and final consideration: target audience. Who is Microsoft 365 intended for, and how does it differ from Office 365’s intended audience? As we previously mentioned, Microsoft 365 has over a dozen subscription plans geared toward five primary audiences. These include private customers, business customers, enterprise customers, education customers, and firstline customers. In other words, just about everyone under the sun has a Microsoft 365 plan geared towards them.
Office 365, by comparison, had a much smaller pool of customers targeted by its software as a service subscriptions. When it all boils down, Office 365 had two main targets: Personal subscribers and business subscribers. While Microsoft did make some distinctions underneath each of these umbrellas (as well has offer its services to educational and firstline customers), there’s no denying that Office 365 spent much more effort keeping its personal and business plans at the forefront of its mind.
The History of Microsoft 365
At the July 2017 Microsoft Inspire conference, the world-renowned tech giant had an announcement to make. Three popular Microsoft products and services would soon be coming together as one. The newly launched Windows 10 Enterprise would be combining with the Office 365 Business Premium subscription service and the Enterprise Mobility + Security suite to create Microsoft 365: a brand new enterprise subscription product for businesses of all shapes and sizes. For a time, that’s all Microsoft 365 was — a mere extension of Office 365. Not for long, however.
In March of 2020, Microsoft officially announced that all of its consumer-oriented Office 365 subscription tiers would be rebranded under a new (but familiar) name: Microsoft 365. This rebranding went into effect in April of that same year. While Microsoft surely knew the plan all along, this was the first indication to us in the general public that the existing subscription-based SaaS (software as a service) platform known as Office 365 was on its way to being phased out. Shortly after, the remainder of Microsoft’s business plans were also rebranded.
At the time, the only plans that retained the Office 365 branding were Microsoft’s subscription tiers oriented toward enterprise, educational, healthcare, and government subscribers. This didn’t last long, though. In October of 2022, just over two and a half years after the major Office 365 rebranding, these remaining tiers adopted the Microsoft 365 name as well. Between November of 2022 and January of 2023, Microsoft slowly phased out the last remaining bits of the Office 365 brand. Today, the only place you’re likely to find the Office 365 name is in legacy products.
How Office 365 Came to Be
Office 365 first originated in October of 2010. It launched as a private beta at the time, only open to a select few small businesses and organizations. It entered into its public beta phase in April of 2011, then officially went public in June of that same year. At the time, Microsoft intended the subscription-based SaaS (software as a service) platform to be exclusively for businesses. They geared the subscription service directly toward corporate customers, making sure to highlight the inclusion of such workplace productivity apps as Exchange Server and SharePoint.
When Microsoft released Office 2013 in February of — you guessed it — 2013, they took the opportunity to broaden the horizons of their Office 365 subscription-based SaaS. The tech giant added a slew of new subscription tiers to Office 365, effectively expanding far beyond just the corporate customer base. New tiers included plans for other various sized businesses alongside a brand new set of personal plans for general use. Microsoft threw in additional products and services including OneDrive, Skype, and even a one-year subscription to Xbox Live Gold.
The Office 365 subscription service saw several years of additional upgrades and updates between 2013 and 2016. During this same time, they continued to tinker with branding, as well. (For instance, they renamed their “Home Premium” Office 365 plan to simply “Home,” then added a “Personal” tier to the mix not long after.) They spent much of 2014 tweaking the amount of cloud storage available to each tier. Then, in 2017, Microsoft announced the biggest change of all: Office 365 would be combined with Windows 10 Enterprise to create Microsoft 365. (We know what came after that.)
- Beverly, Freddy (Author)
- English (Publication Language)
- 459 Pages - 12/02/2022 (Publication Date) - Independently published (Publisher)
Microsoft 365 vs. Office 365: Pros and Cons
|Pros of Microsoft 365||Cons of Microsoft 365|
|More affordable than purchasing individual applications||Larger subscription tiers can be pretty pricy|
|Comes with lots of cloud storage||Some plans limit access to certain products and services|
|Easy cross platform access to documents and files||Cloud storage can leave you without access to documents and files if your internet connection goes out|
|Scalable for businesses of all sizes||Some plans limit the number of emails you and your team can send in a day|
|Pros of Office 365||Cons of Office 365|
|Subscribers always had access to the latest versions of Microsoft products and services||Not everyone needed to subscribe to all of Office 365’s products and services|
|Safe and secure cloud storage access||Prices pretty high with some of the more fully loaded plans|
|Shared plans offered collaborative workspaces||Older devices not able to support newer versions of Microsoft products and services|
|Subscriptions could be canceled at any time, no contracts necessary||You didn’t own any of the software, meaning canceled subscriptions will revoke access|
Microsoft Office: 5 Must-Know Facts
- While we think of Microsoft Office as a family of products and services, it all started with Excel. Way back in 1982, Excel — then named Multiplan — became the very first Office application. The Excel name came a few years later in 1985.
- Excel wasn’t the only Office product to go by a different name at the start. PowerPoint was originally called Presenter upon its release in 1984. It was then rebranded as PowerPoint in 1987.
- The very first Microsoft Office bundle was actually released for Macintosh, not Windows. It first hit macOS way back in 1989. Microsoft Office for Windows didn’t release until the following year in 1990.
- Microsoft Office 95 was seen as the true launch of the Microsoft Office product suite. This release came with Word, Excel, PowerPoint, Access, Schedule+, Binder, and Bookshelf.
- For the past several releases, Microsoft has settled into a three-year cycle for its Office versions. The most recent release is Microsoft Office 2021, preceded by Microsoft Office 2019, Microsoft Office 2016, and so on.
Microsoft 365 vs. Office 365: Which Is Best?
Looking at the history of Microsoft 365 vs. Office 365, it’s clear that the question isn’t so much about which is best as it is about whether or not you should subscribe to Microsoft 365. As we now know, Office 365 is essentially no more. Microsoft 365 now stands in the place where all Office 365 subscriptions used to stand. So, should you subscribe to Microsoft 365? It depends on what you need. In short, if you or your business frequently rely on the Microsoft products and services included in the subscriptions, then you really can’t go wrong with a Microsoft 365 plan.
Last update on 2023-03-15 / Affiliate links / Images from Amazon Product Advertising API