What’s the difference between Office 365 and Microsoft 365? No, that’s not the setup to a dreadful joke, but a legitimate question being asked by many businesses in light of Microsoft’s rebranding of its Office suite. So what are the differences between these rather confusingly titled solutions?

Microsoft itself defines the difference thus: “Microsoft 365 includes everything you know in Office 365. Microsoft 365 is designed to help people and businesses achieve more with innovative Office apps, intelligent cloud services, and world-class security.”

In real terms, though, there’s not too much of a difference – more of a rebranding of existing solutions than a wholly new operation. Subscribers to an Office 365 plan will simply be ported over to an equivalent Microsoft 365 plan – with little to no noticeable change beyond the name itself. Microsoft has also promised that prices will not increase following this rebrand, and confirmed that existing subscribers will not need to reinstall any software or purchase another subscription.

So why the change?

One of the reasons Microsoft made this switch was to better reflect the cloud-based productivity tools available as part of its 365 suite. In addition to the timeless favourites of Word, PowerPoint and Excel, the latest subscriptions also include the likes of OneNote, OneDrive, Teams, Exchange and SharePoint. Microsoft hopes this rebranding will make more of these newer solutions, at a time when more businesses than ever are relying on them to navigate through lockdown.

As before, the rebranded Microsoft 365 suite will come in a number of different packages to suit individual need and requirements – with price tags to match.

There’s Microsoft 365 Home (both a Family and Personal option), Microsoft 365 Business (in Basic, Standard or Premium), and Microsoft 365 Enterprise (E3, E5 and F3). The scalable nature of these solutions means that users need only pay for the solutions they will use, and can move between the options should their circumstances change.

So, in answer to the question of what’s the difference – right now, not much beyond the name itself. Time will tell whether more changes are to come, but right now it’s simply an exercise in pushing the cloud services closer to the fore – as Microsoft emphasises how it sees cloud productivity solutions as a big part of its future.

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