Office 365 and Microsoft 365 Subscription Costs Going Up Next March
Microsoft on Thursday announced plans to increase subscription costs for Office 365 and Microsoft 365 business users, starting on March 1, 2022.
The per-user, per-month subscription costs will increase for all business plans except for the Microsoft 365 E5 plan, which wasn't listed as changing in March. The price hikes will vary per plan, with the highest increase bringing Microsoft an extra $4 per user per month (the Microsoft 365 E3 plan).
The price increases will just affect business subscribers. Microsoft isn't changing the costs for education and consumer products users "at this time," the announcement indicated.
Here are the specific cost increases coming in March for Office 365 and Microsoft 365 business subscribers:
- Microsoft 365 Business Basic (from $5 to $6 per user)
- Microsoft 365 Business Premium (from $20 to $22)
- Office 365 E1 (from $8 to $10)
- Office 365 E3 (from $20 to $23)
- Office 365 E5 (from $35 to $38), and
- Microsoft 365 E3 (from $32 to $36).
The price increase was described as "the first substantive pricing update since we launched Office 365 a decade ago." Microsoft had added 24 apps since launch, along with 1,400 new features.
Microsoft previously announced back in February that users of the "perpetual-license" Office products (Office Professional Plus, Office Standard and individual apps) would get a 10 percent price hike with the next product release, along with a cut in product support by five years. Perpetual licensees buy the product once instead of subscribing, and they don't get the new features that the subscription-based licensees receive.
Microsoft's price hike announcement also described plan changes with respect to the Teams Audio Conferencing capability. Microsoft will add Audio Conferencing with "unlimited dial-in capabilities" to more subscription plans than just the current Microsoft 365 E5 and Office 365 E5 plans. This Audio Conferencing feature addition will arrive "over the next few months" for users of the "enterprise, business, frontline and government suites," Microsoft indicated.
Audio Conferencing is a feature just for people who start meetings. It lets them use their phone to do so. It's conceived as a perk for those occasions when people might be on the road and without the bandwidth for a Teams session.
Microsoft had offered a one-year free trial of Audio Conferencing to Teams users back in Sept. 2020, and was still promoting that offer in 2021. Audio Conferencing is getting added to plans other than E5 because "we have come to see dial-in as an important part of the complete Teams experience," the announcement explained.
Kurt Mackie is senior news producer for 1105 Media's Converge360 group.