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.
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.
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Ghacks is a technology news blog that was founded in 2005 by Martin Brinkmann. It has since then become one of the most popular tech news sites on the Internet with five authors and regular contributions from freelance writers.