Over 1 million companies across the globe rely on Office 365 to support in-office and remote teams, and Canada represents the third largest Office 365 market in the world. For these business and enterprise users, prices have remained largely unchanged since the suite’s launch over 10 years ago.

Microsoft has not changed the price of Office 365  since it first launched in June 2011. Meanwhile, Microsoft 365 has remained unchanged since its launch in March of 2017. But this status quo is not expected to last for much longer.

From March 1, 2022, Microsoft will be increasing its commercial pricing schedule for Microsoft 365 and Office 365 users. Education plan and private consumer products will be unaffected – only commercial and enterprise Microsoft 365 and Office 365 license holders will experience cost increases.

How Are Prices Increasing?

Some users will experience only a small price increase, while others may experience significant increases across the year. The smallest price increases will only equal $1 per month per user, while the highest increases will total $4 each month per user. This translates to per-user price increases of between $12 and $48 each year.

Users of small- and medium-sized business platforms will experience the following increases from March 1, 2022:

  • Basic-level M365 Business plans increase from $5 to $6 USD
  • Premium-level M365 Business plans increase from $20 to $22 USD

Users of enterprise platforms will experience the following price increases from March 1, 2022:

  • E1 Office 365 plans increase from $8 to $10 USD
  • E3 Office 365 plans increase from $20 to $23 USD
  • E5 Office 365 plans increase from $35 to $38 USD
  • E3 Microsoft 365 plans increase from $32 to $36 USD

Users of the E5 level of Microsoft 365 are currently paying $57 per user per month, and this will not change. Similarly, neither F1 tier Microsoft 365 nor E5 Microsoft 365 Business SKU will change in price. Some new products, such as Microsoft 365 for Frontline Workers, will also be unaffected. As mentioned above, users of education and consumer plans will not see any change in pricing.

Customers using these products should not expect this situation to be permanent, however. Microsoft has not offered any guarantee that these prices will not increase in the future, so all users should factor this into their budgeting.

The changes will take effect on March 1, but users will continue paying their current contracted price until their license is up for renewal. From this renewal date onwards, they will pay the new amended price. All new customers after March 1 will need to pay the increased rate.

Understanding Microsoft’s Price Rises

So what has changed? Why has Microsoft decided to raise their prices after maintaining cost stability for so many years? The price increases have been implemented to fund the ongoing development and expansion of Microsoft 365 and Office 365 and to extend the capabilities these suites provide to businesses.

Microsoft Has Added a Number of Applications to 365 Plans

The business landscape has changed significantly over the years since Office 365 was first launched. In fact, ever since Microsoft 365 launched five years ago, the needs and expectations of businesses have shifted greatly.

Since the prices for 365 were set, Microsoft has sought to better meet the needs of enterprise clients, adding a number of applications to its roster. This includes apps such as:

  • Teams
  • GroupMe
  • Skype for Business
  • Whiteboard
  • To-Do
  • Visio
  • Yammer

These additions represent just a few of the improvements Microsoft has added to its 365 offerings. In total, 19 apps have been added for customers to benefit from.

Microsoft Has Added a Huge Number of Capabilities for Users

It takes more than just an improved selection of applications to fit the needs of enterprise and small business users. Microsoft also needs to continually augment and enhance the capabilities of these applications. This means adding security and compliance capabilities – such as full messaging encryption, data loss prevention (DLP) for email and documents, sensitivity labels, multi-factor authentication, and content searching.

Microsoft 365 users now benefit from a wealth of communication and collaboration capabilities. These include polls added to Team meetings, real-time document collaboration in Word, desktop application for PowerPoint, and group chat capabilities for up to 250 different user profiles. Live captions and speaker attribution has been added to collaborative applications for more effective remote deployment.

In addition to this, users benefit from a variety of artificially intelligent capabilities, including functions such as Resume Assistant and Translate. AI has also enhanced other 365 apps – for example, providing Editor tools in Word and Outlook, Natural Language Querying on Excel, and Ideas and Designer in PowerPoint.

In total, over 1,400 capabilities have been added to the Microsoft 365 user’s toolkit since the suite’s launch.

Get More Out of Microsoft 365 and Office 365 for Your Business

Microsoft and Office 365 represent a formidable set of benefits for businesses. Reach out to Softlanding today, find out more about our managed IT services, and discover how your business can get the most from the Microsoft productivity suites.

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Softlanding is a long-established IT services provider of transformation, professional services and managed IT services that helps organizations boost innovation and drive business value. We are a multi-award-winning Microsoft Gold Partner with 13 Gold Competencies and we use our experience and expertise to be a trusted advisor to our clients. Headquartered in Vancouver, BC, we have staff and offices in Toronto, Montreal and Calgary to serve clients across Canada.

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