Will Microsoft launch a consumer Microsoft 365 subscription product?

Martin Brinkmann
Sep 20, 2019
Microsoft, Windows

Microsoft has put a strong focus on subscriptions in the past couple of years. The company launched Office 365 for consumers, businesses and Enterprises, and Microsoft 365 for businesses and Enterprises.

The two subscription-based products provide customers with access to Office and online storage, and access to Windows and Office respectively. Extras may be available depending on the selected plans.

Microsoft uses various tactics to get customers to switch from a regular version of Office to the subscription-based Office 365.

When Microsoft launched Office 2019, a one-time payment version of Microsoft Office, it made the software Windows 10 exclusive and encouraged customers not to buy Office 2019. The company limits Office 2019 in several ways: Office 2019 won't receive any feature updates, may only be installed on a single device, and the price of some editions was increased as well.

Microsoft 365, a subscription-based product that combined Windows and Office in a single subscription has not been released in a consumer version up until now.  We wanted to know back in 2017 whether you'd pay for a subscription to get Office and Windows in return and most who replied stated that they would not while the decision of some would depend on the price of the subscription.

Microsoft has not announced a consumer version of Microsoft 365 yet but it is almost inevitable that the company will release a plan or even multiple plans for consumers in the near future.

Some Microsoft Office 365 customers noticed recently that the name of the product was changed from Office 365 to Microsoft 365.

Mary Jo Foley asked Microsoft about the change and the company responded that Microsoft did not have any plans to rebrand Office 365 to Microsoft 365 "at this point". Microsoft did not reveal why some customers would see the rebranding happen on their end.

It is possible that the changes were caused by a bug. It seems unlikely that Microsoft would rebrand Office 365 to Microsoft 365 as these are two different products. The rebranding is certainly no confirmation that something is going on but it could very well mean that Microsoft will announce the first consumer subscription bundle during the Surface event in October or Ignite in November.

Closing Words

Microsoft 365 for consumers is the next logical step in Microsoft's quest to turn all one-time payment products into subscription-based products. Consumers pay once for Windows currently and convincing them to switch to a subscription-model would certainly require incentives to make the subscription-based model look more attractive than the one-time payment model.

I think the question is not if but when Microsoft will unveil the consumer Microsoft 365 product.

Now You: How much would you pay for a Microsoft 365 subscription?

Will Microsoft launch a consumer Microsoft 365 subscription product?
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Will Microsoft launch a consumer Microsoft 365 subscription product?
Will Microsoft launch a consumer version of the company's Microsoft 365 subscription service that combines Office and Windows?
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  1. Barry Koostachin said on September 27, 2019 at 4:13 pm

    i’m late to the game, okay. Microsoft is being greedy only looking for more profits for their shareholders and board of directors. Back in a day MS made a majority of the good moves, along with a lot of boneheaded move. Will I pay for subscription fee for Windows laptop? Most likely the answer would be no. Going subscription model base will take money out of people who are all ready strapped for cash. I don’t want the headaches of calling tech at Microsoft. All ready there are articles and youtube videos commenting about bugs in windows 10.

    My two favourite document processors, LibreOffice and Focus Writer, both works all three OSes Linux, Microsoft and MacOS. Oh, I’m waiting until U2F and FIDO2 security keys are supported on Linux OS of my choice. Until that time I will stick with Windows long as possible.

    Macbook air aka hand me down and Windows 8.1 via Chromium based browsers such as Vivaldi and Brave now supports fido2 security keys. But not yet available on MX Linux Continuum OS that is running on my 6 year old laptop.

  2. Clairvaux said on September 23, 2019 at 12:00 am

    It would be easy for Microsoft to adopt the freemium model, like thousands of software publishers which have done it successfully.

    Sell Office for business use, with both a one-time fee and subscription model, and give it for free to home users, non-profits and educational institutions.

    The suite being the behemoth that it is, it wouldn’t be difficult for Microsoft to take out of the free version a bunch of business-specific features which, in turn, would justify the price for commercial use.

  3. Ronald Gee said on September 21, 2019 at 9:14 pm

    For the last few years, Microsoft would offer deep discounts on the home edition of Office to my company’s employees through their Home Use Program (I’m they offer the similar discount to other large companies). For example, we could get MS Office Personal for $10.

    We just got an email last week with the subject “Microsoft Home Use Program has Changed.” So now they’ve gone to a subscription model, with the corporate discount of 30%. So Office 365 Home (which allows up to 6 users) is offered for $70/year (normally $100/year), and Office 365 Personal (one person) going for $49/year (discounted from $70/year). Big change. I, for one, will not be upgrading.


  4. PeterNL said on September 21, 2019 at 6:55 pm

    I hope that Microsoft will develop and build a much safer, faster and rock-solid operating system. Windows 10 still feels buggy, laggy and unstable. This week I installed Linux Mint 19.2 Cinnamon in a VM and it’s nice fast and smoothly running. Microsoft developers can learn a lot from the Linux world. For MS Office I’d prepared to pay, but a subscription fee for Windows is for me a bridge too far. Windows users has also to invest in a proper internet security suite to protect themselves against all nasty stuff. Windows needs to be build up from the ground again.

  5. Clairvaux said on September 21, 2019 at 4:20 pm

    Exactly zero, of course.

    Free Office (free) or Soft Maker Office Standard (from 20 € to 70 € one-time, or as a yearly subscription, if you insist). Also available for Linux and Macintosh, by the way. And Android, under the name of SoftMaker Office HD Basic.


    The publisher is the same, and all products are variants, despite their different names and the different sites.

    German software, going back decades and as reliable as German tools.

    Don’t bother with the third-party programs sometimes thrown in as a promotional offer. They are usually crap.

  6. ChuckK said on September 21, 2019 at 1:50 pm

    Regardless of Microsoft has done especially in the past.

    I challenge anyone to go into a grocery store and fill a cart and just go by the checkout without paying. I think the mentality of a lot of people is that they believe technology should be free. Ask that of your buddies at Google, Facebook and all the other “free” social media places. It’s called ADVERTISING FOR DOLLARS. lol Try to go into a computer store or online and order but don’t pay for that desktop computer, laptop, tablet or extra hard drive. Go in and get the new-fangled Iphone or Galaxy for nothing. My point is, why is the product (software) especially for PC based machines supposed to be free according to you? I have never heard a good argument for it, not even close.

    It is fine there are “free” Windows-like software out there, but then again remember what it is BASED ON. Oh that’s write those free “office” softwares are supposed to be for the most part compatible with, what, what was that…? MICROSOFT.

    I have never seen so many people complain about paying for things. I guess in America people have been trained to get stuff for free? Just like cell phones, couldn’t leave people without a cellphone so they started free phones. Except there’s a problem with that. It is NOT free, someone (the taxpayer) is paying for it and most likely when they pay their cell phone bill.

    If you don’t like Microsoft then why are you even here commenting? Move to Apple, move to Linux.

    I am not part of anything Microsoft, nor am I a mouthpiece for them. I deal in facts and I believe everyone should do the right thing. Yes Microsoft sometimes baffles me once in a while but so did car dealers when I used to own cars. Treat all businesses LIKE a business.

    1. John Fenderson said on September 23, 2019 at 5:27 pm


      Who is talking about not paying for things??

    2. AnorKnee Merce said on September 21, 2019 at 6:45 pm

      @ ChuckK

      Fyi, millions of Chinese, Russians and Indians are using bootleg copies of Windows for free, which can be activated and updated, just like the legally paid versions.

      As a home-user, I have paid M$ for non-transferable OEM license fees for Win XP and Win 7 (= cost about US$30, included in the price of the new laptops). After Jan 2020, I will likely soon be joining the above Chinese, Russians and Indians by hook or by crook.

      Hope you may enjoy paying M$ 365 subscriptions of US$10 to US$50 per month for the rest of your life. Good day.

      P S – Fyi, M$ made US$35.1 billion in profits in 2018, on a revenue of US$110.4 billion.

  7. KennyS said on September 21, 2019 at 3:13 am

    Office 2010 and Windows 7 is the last versions for me. I’m switching to Hackintosh. If I needed to edit something elsewhere ill just install LibreOffice. No need for Office anymore.

  8. J. Chinook said on September 21, 2019 at 2:15 am

    Assuming that Microsoft forces Windows into a subscription system, will they then accept responsibility for the cost of repairing individual computers that are harmed by Microsoft’s patches, upgrades, updates???

  9. Dirgster said on September 20, 2019 at 10:22 pm

    Microsoft Windows 10 and MS Office 365 are wonderful OSs and programs to run. Good things are not for free.

    1. RJ said on September 21, 2019 at 8:25 pm

      They never have been free. Hello? The issue is that we would have to rent them because Microsoft is more greedy than ever because of their marketshare in desktop OS and office software.

  10. Sunny said on September 20, 2019 at 7:57 pm

    Microsoft Office has been slow since they moved to the Click-To-Run format.
    Also the documentation for Office is only online.
    So I use LibreOffice and that works for me.
    I only miss Microsoft Access. LibreOffice base is getting better, but very slowly.
    I ecncourage people to donate to LibreOffice to help with the development.

    I would never pay for a subscription for Windows or Office for home use.
    I am already moving away from all of Microsoft products. Linux is my future.

    If Windows is only available as a subscription service and new laptops come with Windows installed as the case is now, then I think Microsoft will probably let Windows run in a crippled mode (but with security updates) if the laptop buyers refuse the Windiows subscription or they will get a lot of criticisme.

    Having only a crippled Windows or a subscription Windows may push some powerful people to fund and creat a new more standardised Linux distro with a set of standardised programs (LibreOffice, email client, etc), and a subscription that gives you extra support and services.
    The subscription is to fund the distro and it’s standardised programs.
    That is a subscription I would pay for.

  11. John Fenderson said on September 20, 2019 at 4:52 pm

    My workplace changed to O365 a couple of months ago, and the consensus in the office is that it’s pretty difficult and unpleasant.

    My personal opinion? If I had a choice, I wouldn’t use it even if it were completely free.

  12. kalmly said on September 20, 2019 at 4:21 pm

    In answer to your question: $0 is what I would pay.

  13. Anonymous said on September 20, 2019 at 3:22 pm

    In future windows S or whatever they call it now with only MS store become new OEM version for new computers and if you want run normal apps you have to buy subscription.

  14. jack said on September 20, 2019 at 12:26 pm

    microsoft,you confused me

  15. sp808 said on September 20, 2019 at 11:20 am

    Who need this cr#p?
    LibreOffice is slow as hell, even on quick machines.
    I am rocking on Office 2007 sp3+. No problems at all. And it is lightning fast.

  16. George said on September 20, 2019 at 10:24 am

    I’d pay up to $10/month, but only with proper support. That excludes random, ready-made responses to actual Windows issues that solve nothing.

    1. AnorKnee Merce said on September 20, 2019 at 12:14 pm

      Very unlikely.

      Even the US$7 per month Win 10 Ent E3 subscription only comes with normal support, ie for security updates and feature updates/upgrades, and superficial online tech support only, eg by Indian out-sourced staffs via chat, telephone or voIP.
      ……. For further proper support or full tech support, M$ charges the enterprises US$499 per incident, eg when M$’s professional staffs are required to go to the business premises to fix the Windows problem.

      So, you may need to pay M$ about US$299 per incident for proper support. Better for Windows users to get full tech support from local 3rd-party professionals/consultants. Most enterprises hire their own Windows IT Admin or professional.

  17. Klaas Vaak said on September 20, 2019 at 9:17 am

    This should be an incentive for most consumers to drop Office and start using an alternative such as LibreOffice, FreeOffice, etc.

    For the more principled consumers this could also push them to drop Windows in favour of Linux, of which there are now some easy to install and use distros that are very similar to Windows in look & feel.

    1. BM said on September 20, 2019 at 1:31 pm

      That is a wish more than the reality. Linux has a 2% market share of OS’s per Netmarketshare.com.

      As a long time user of OpenOffice, while it works just fine on its own, good enough for a simple majority of people, the hassle and glitches associated with sharing documents with others who use MS Office is just not worth it for a good many others.

      I doubt most people (other than the very tech savvy) would find a move to Linux a better experience.

      Switching to non-Microsoft products, even if they are “very similar in look and feel” hardly makes one “more principled”. And, there are good reasons why not to switch.

      Rather flimsy ground to make that kind of judgment of people.

  18. AnorKnee Merce said on September 20, 2019 at 9:14 am

    It depends.

    If by end 2020, about 80% of computer users are still running Win 10 and have not abandoned Windows for another desktop OS, then M$ will likely implement Consumer M$ 365 subscriptions to exist alongside stand-alone 10-years Win 10 licenses with the eventual phasing out of the latter and licensed M$ Office a few years after 2020.

    IOW, M$’s endgame is to have everything in subscriptions = “Windows as a Service” = M$ is guaranteed more profits annually and long term or perpetually.
    ……. Previously, most enterprises and consumers only upgrade Windows every 10 years or so, eg Win 3.1 to Win XP to Win 7 = only pay M$ for new Windows license fees every 10 years or so. M$/Nadella did not like this.

  19. pndy said on September 20, 2019 at 9:13 am

    > It is possible that the changes were caused by a bug

    It is also possible that they’re probing with “bug” for reactions around to see if customers, IT sphere is ok with them rolling such… ridiculous idea.

    Also, I wouldn’t pay.

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