With the aim of bringing people together, Microsoft has announced changes to the Office 365 product family for Small to Medium businesses and consumers. The changes also includes new AI features to Microsoft Editor, and new consumer driven features to Teams.
Microsoft’s initiative is motivated by the recent Coronavirus pandemic that’s forcing people to remain in their homes and away from family and friends. The change from Office 365 to Microsoft 365 represents the company’s shift in branding to reach the everyday consumers as well as businesses. In a time when social interaction has become mainly virtual, changes like these can really make a difference.
Office 365 Rebrand
The rebrand will affect Office 365 subscriptions for SMB and Office 365 ProPlus. Moving forward, all of the SMB products will use the Microsoft 365 brand.
The new product name changes will not affect features or pricing, the changes will happen automatically and will require no further input.
- Office 365 Business Essentials is now Microsoft 365 Business Basic
- Office 365 Business Premium is now Microsoft 365 Business Standard
- Microsoft 365 Business is now Microsoft Business Premium
- Office 365 Business is now Microsoft 365 Apps for Business
- Office 365 ProPlus is now Microsoft 365 Apps for enterprise
The following plans will not change
- Office 365 for Enterprise (Office 365 E1, E3 or E5)
- Office 365 for Firstline Workers (Office 365 F1)
- Office 365 for Education (Office 365 A1, A3 & A5)
- Office 365 for Government (Office 365 G1, G3 & G5)
Scheduled to happen on the 21st of April, the change isn’t limited to the name. Microsoft announced that the apps within the soon-to-be-called Microsoft 365 will also experience some change, the main one being regarding Microsoft Teams following popular demand.
Teams is now for everyone
The new Microsoft Teams will now offer everyday consumers a multifaceted app that allows them to chat, video call, make plans, access their calendars, share files and to-do lists, all in one place. The goal is to make connecting with the ones you love easier during this social distancing time.
Microsoft Editor, PowerPoint AI & more …
Another big change to expect on the 21st of April is the Microsoft Editor’s major expansion. The AI-powered application will offer its basic features for free users, but Microsoft 365 subscribers will have access to “advanced grammar and style refinements to write with more clarity and conciseness” within Word, Outlook and your browser, as said on their website. On top of that, the application will also check the user’s documents for plagiarism and offer suggestions regarding vocabulary.
PowerPoint will also get some helpful updates for those interested in improving their public speaking skills. The new Presenter Coach, exclusive for Microsoft 365 subscribers, can help your rehearsal by being able to detect if you’re talking too fast, using too many filler words like “umm” and “err” or just reading from the slides.
However, you don’t need to wait until the end of April to enjoy these features. Starting today, Microsoft is introducing two new AI-powered features in PowerPoint Presenter Coach, also exclusively for Microsoft 365 subscribers: monotone pitch and speech refinement. These two new preview features will suggest the user to add variation to their speech and how to phrase it better in real time.
With changes and special features added to Word and PowerPoint, Excel couldn’t be an exception. The application will now have a new feature called Money, where users will be able to import their financial data from their banks to a spreadsheet to better manage their finances. With graphs informing their spending pattern as well as spending increase alerts, this new feature is sure to help the average user track their spending in an easy way.
The final addition to Microsoft 365 is the Family Safety app. Available for Microsoft 365 users on iOS and Android, the service will let you know the location of your children and alert you once they enter or exit a targeted area, such as school or dance class. Parents using Android will also be able to see what apps their children and family are using as well as limit their screen time to a certain predetermined amount.
A lot of new features are expected to make their way into the new Microsoft 365. However, whether these will be ground-breaking features or not, only time will tell.