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Additional Microsoft 365 Options Coming Next Week

Starting in October, Microsoft 365 will cover a larger swath of customers with extended licensing options.

Microsoft first unveiled the Microsoft 365 brand in July as a broad bundle of Office, Windows and various management and security capabilities. It's often described as a combination of Office 365, Windows 10 and Enterprise Mobility + Security (EMS). In practice, what's included varies considerably depending on the package. The original version was Microsoft 365 Enterprise, announced at Microsoft Inspire and consisting of a relatively straightforward repackaging of Secure Productive Enterprise that included Office 365, Windows 10 Enterprise and the EMS suite.

In August, Microsoft launched a public preview of Microsoft 365 Business, intended for organizations with fewer than 300 users. That bundle begins to reveal the variation of the Microsoft 365 offerings. While it broadly addresses productivity, client, management and security licensing, the specifics of the bundle consisted of Windows 10 Pro upgrade rights, Windows Defender, Office, 1TB of file storage, a 50GB mailbox, online meetings, Microsoft Teams, Outlook Customer Manager, Bookings, MileIQ and additional security and management features.

A number of additional versions were unveiled this week at Microsoft Ignite, including Microsoft 365 F1 for so-called "firstline workers" and two new Microsoft 365 versions for education.

With its term "firstline workers," Microsoft is trying to create a term for employees who don't need a computer of their own in the course of their regular work. "They are the people behind the counter, on the phone, in the clinics, on the shop floor, and in the field. They are often the first to engage customers, the first to represent a company's brand, and the first to see products and services in action," said Bryan Goode, general manager for Office 365, in a blog post announcing the F1 SKU. Goode estimated that there are 2 billion firstline workers worldwide.

If the concept sounds familiar, Microsoft has previously offered kiosk licenses with a similar story, although now Microsoft is tying the idea into its current digital transformation theme. "Microsoft is in a unique position to help companies tap into the potential of their Firstline Workforce with our commercial product offerings, spanning Microsoft 365, Dynamics 365, Microsoft IoT, Microsoft AI, and Microsoft HoloLens and the Windows Mixed Reality ecosystem," Goode said.

Components of Microsoft 365 F1 overlap with an Office 365 F1 SKU, which includes Office Online, 2GB of e-mail, SharePoint, Yammer, Groups, instant messaging, Teams, enterprise video, PowerApps, Flow and StaffHub, an app for clocking in/out and task tracking. Beyond the Office 365 capabilities, Microsoft 365 F1 includes Microsoft Advanced Threat Analytics, Windows Defender Antivirus, Device Guard, Azure Active Directory, Windows Hello, Credential Guard, Direct Access, Microsoft Intune, Windows Information Protection and BitLocker.

For teacher and students, Microsoft is rolling out Microsoft 365 Education in two SKUs on Oct. 1. Broadly, the offer covers Office 365 for Education, Windows 10, EMS and Minecraft: Education Edition. Specifically, the education offering is available as Microsoft 365 A3 and Microsoft 365 A5.

Noting the popularity of free usage of Office 365 for Education for teachers and students, Anthony Salcito, vice president, education at Microsoft, promised in a blog post that there are no changes being made to that existing offer. "Microsoft 365 Education builds on that free service with advanced communications, management and security features. In addition, you can provide many of the advanced features found in Microsoft 365 Education to students at no additional cost with the student use benefit when you purchase for faculty and staff," he said.

Features exclusive to the A5 edition include PSTN Conferencing, Cloud PBX, Advanced Threat Prevention and some higher-level EMS functionality.

About the Author

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

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