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Microsoft Announces Premium Office 365

A new premium Office 365 enterprise suite called E5 will roll out later this year.

E5 will bring several brand-new capabilities to the Office 365 suite, including Cloud PBX, analytics, Power BI and advanced security capabilities. John Case, corporate vice president of Office Marketing for Microsoft, introduced the suite in a Microsoft Worldwide Partner Conference (WPC) keynote speech Monday.

"We think what that does is more than double the available market for Office 365," Case said in an interview after the keynote. "The number that I put on the slide today was a $56 billion addressable market. We think we're less than half that today with services like e-mail and the Office client."

Case said the suite would be available later in the calendar year. Pricing will be announced closer to general availability of the suite, but Case contended that it would be compelling.

"We will price it aggressively relative to all the individual components. People will look at it and they think, Power BI, we've priced it as $10 per user. For Advanced Threat Protection and things like Lockbox, other providers are charging a significant amount of money for those services on a standalone basis. Cisco's price points on things like WebEx are significant. Those aren't free services. So when you add all that up, we'll be able to give a significant advantage to those that buy from one vendor for something like E5," Case said.

Currently, the largest percentage of Office 365 sales come under the E3 SKU, which includes most of the high-end server functionality, plus the Office client software.

"I think a very sizable percentage of the Office 365 customer base will find E5 very attractive from a price perspective and an end-to-end functionality perspective," Case said. "It won't be 100 percent, but it will be a sizable percentage."

Case said the whole suite will provide new opportunities for all Office 365 partners, but integration of the new PSTN conferencing capabilities and Cloud PBX with existing enterprise telephony infrastructure opens opportunities for large telco partners.

 

About the Author

Scott Bekker is editor in chief of Redmond Channel Partner magazine.

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