Microsoft 365 is Microsoft as a Service

Posted on July 10, 2017 by Paul Thurrott in Android, Cloud, iOS, Microsoft Surface, Mobile, Office 365, Windows 10 with 28 Comments

Microsoft 365 is Microsoft as a Service

In a move to further consolidate its cloud-based offerings for businesses, Microsoft this morning announced Microsoft 365, combining Office 365, Windows 10, and Enterprise Mobility + Security into a single solution.

It is, in other words, what I’ll call “Microsoft as a Service.”

“Microsoft 365 offers exciting new opportunities for our partners, from the ability to modernize a customer’s environment through managed services to the ability to differentiate their offerings with advanced enterprise services,” Microsoft’s Matt Barlow writes in a post timed to the start of Inspire, the software giant’s partner conference. “We believe Microsoft 365 will be a further catalyst to drive customer creativity, security and simplicity in their desktop management.”

Described by the software giant as “a new family of commercial offerings,” Microsoft 365 provides a complete set of productivity and security capabilities for businesses of all sizes. There are two offerings, Microsoft 365 E3 and Microsoft 365 E5, and both will be available for purchase on August 1. Pricing is unclear.

The enterprise version is called Microsoft 365 Enterprise, and it encompasses Office 365 Enterprise, Windows 10 Enterprise, and Enterprise Mobility + Service, the firm’s integrated MDM offering. It will be offered in two plans, Microsoft 365 E3 and Microsoft 365 E5, that will be “available for purchase” on August 1.

For small- and medium-sized businesses, Microsoft 365 Business will offer Office 365 Business Premium, security and device management for Office apps and Windows 10, and a centralized IT console. The cost? $20 per user, per month.

Additionally, Microsoft announced the preview release of three applications that are coming to Office 365 Business Premium and Microsoft 365 Business: Microsoft Listings, Microsoft Connections, and Microsoft Invoicing.

Microsoft describes Microsoft 365 as “a fundamental shift” in the way it will design, build, and deliver these products to market going forward. And that’s interesting, right? One of the big advantages of just Office 365 is that Microsoft will always know that its customers have all of the constituent products and services, so they can be updated with that integration in mind.

Today’s announcement suggests that Microsoft will now undertake this development strategy, as much as it can, with Office 365, Windows 10, and EMS. Which is, of course, why we should think of this as Microsoft as a Service. It’s literally the cloud convergence that many had expected to see over time.

I wonder when they will announce a consumer offering. Seems reasonable.

Tagged with

Join the discussion!

BECOME A THURROTT MEMBER:

Don't have a login but want to join the conversation? Become a Thurrott Premium or Basic User to participate

Register
Comments (28)

28 responses to “Microsoft 365 is Microsoft as a Service”

  1. Avatar

    skane2600

    So if Windows 10 in this scheme is part of a cloud convergence what OS will be running on client machines to access these services, Linux? :)


    First and foremost it's subscription convergence not cloud convergence.

    • Avatar

      lvthunder

      In reply to skane2600:

      What are you talking about. Since this is all buisness related the IT staff will have a USB drive with Windows 10 on it. They will login like they do with Office 365 now. It's not that complicated.

      • Avatar

        skane2600

        In reply to lvthunder:

        I wasn't aware that a USB drive was considered a cloud technology. I thought it was obvious that I was mocking the idea of Windows 10 as a cloud service. No matter what kind of cloud capability is available it always requires a local client. You can virtualize Windows but it is as it always has been, a OS designed from the ground up to run on a local machine.

    • Avatar

      offTheRecord

      In reply to skane2600:

      Yeah, this sounds more like it's about bundling Windows (including virtualization rights) into a subscription service rather than running Windows in the cloud (which we've already been able to do for years). Taking "Windows as a (subscription) Service" for consumers to it's "logical" extreme, the day may come when new PCs come with a 30-day trial of Windows (just like they come now with 30-day Office 365 trials). It's what happens on Day 31 if you don't subscribe that remains to be seen.

  2. Avatar

    Narg

    Finally! This is long overdue IMHO. Hopefully pricing is not too bad. (Not holding breath...)

  3. Avatar

    SvenJ

    Sounds to me like re-branded enterprise licensing for the OS. There has always been this bulk licensing of Windows with a different enterprise version. If you install the Enterprise version it will have you set it up with an Active Directory account, not a local account, not an MSA. An Active Directory account is your only choice. That can be an Office 365 (business) AD account, like you get with Office 365 Business. Sort of makes sense to bundle all this under one branding.

  4. Avatar

    rameshthanikodi

    This is great, it already makes volume licensing look dumb. I'm not sure if a consumer offering will make as much sense, I expect most consumers to get their licenses from OEM preinstalls.

  5. Avatar

    valisystem

    One of Microsoft's most egregious branding mistakes came when they created two different types of accounts. At one time you could call them "Microsoft accounts" and "Office 365 accounts" and more or less keep track of them. Then MS began to use "Office 365" to describe a consumer license for the Office programs and we no longer had good names for anything.


    It's been a nightmare for non-technical people. Confusing dialogs about "work or school" and "personal" accounts, endless confusion about what credentials to use for two different OneDrive services. I deal with frustrated people every day who are lost in poor branding.


    And now this. "Microsoft 365 Business" will encompass "Office 365 Business" or maybe it won't. But it definitely won't work with what used to be a "Microsoft account." And it has nothing to do with Office 365 Home.


    Branding matters. This is lunacy. IT pros might barely be able to follow this. But as an IT pro, I find myself suggesting services with simple names that I believe normal people can follow - like Dropbox, or Slack.

    • Avatar

      Waethorn

      In reply to valisystem:

      Office 365 business plans never used Microsoft Accounts (unless you count the one-time "retail" purchases of Office 20xx Home & Business or Professional).


      I do get what you're saying though: Google uses a "Google Account" for everything. G Suite business plans are NOT Gmail email addresses though - they must be set up with your company domain. At least Google mandates that you use your company domain and don't set up a confusing additional "ongoogle.com" domain like Microsoft does.

    • Avatar

      Narg

      In reply to valisystem:

      Unfortunately, there's more than 2 :(

  6. Avatar

    rmac

    As Microsoft seems to be following a 'cloud first' (only) strategy, I guess this is really 'Windows-less'?

  7. Avatar

    will

    Last year I was involved in a small survey and they asked several questions around combining Microsoft services for home including Office, Xbox Live, Grove and something I had never heard of Xbox Gaming library. Now that the latter is available it seems reasonable that possibly later this year, with the next update for Windows, they would announce such a service.

    Question would be pricing. I am thinking $100-$150 for single person, $200-$250 for family?

    • Avatar

      Dan1986ist

      In reply to will:

      $8.33 per month for a single user to have Office 365 Home (as many individual users like myself have more than one computing device), XBox Live, Groove, and the XBox Gaming Library on up to specified number of numbers would be a fairly good deal. Right now, Office 365 Home and Groove runs 19.98 per month as a separate subscriptions.

    • Avatar

      daveevad

      In reply to will:

      Family option would be great...unfortunately Microsoft seems to be adverse to family plans these days. The only music service without one & they got rid of the XBL family pack years ago. fingers crossed tho.

  8. Avatar

    KingPCGeek

    Most users I have on Windows 10 do not have Office installed nor do they need it. The users I have on Office 365 are for the most part on Windows 7. Not seeing a need to go from $12 a month to $20 or $0 a month to $20.

    • Avatar

      lvthunder

      In reply to KingPCGeek:

      Not everyone in your company has email? Plus you wouldn't really be going from $0 to $20 a month since you had to pay the $200 for Windows Pro in the first place. Plus I could see small and medium sized businesses wanting security and device management for Office apps and Windows 10, and a centralized IT console as well.

      • Avatar

        KingPCGeek

        In reply to lvthunder:

        Yes, everyone has email. Believe it or not there is email besides Exchange. Mailenable works wonders for my remote users who are not employees of my company and only need the PC I provide them for one thing, to connect to my central system via a SSH client. And no I do not have to pay $200 for Windows Pro when it comes preinstalled on the $450 PCs I provide to them, Oh and I do have central security management with a centralized IT console via Trend Micro at about $20 a year per user.


        Mailenable cost me about $1000 about 12 years ago and about $500 a year in maintenance for 110 users and includes Active Sync capabilities. Just in case these users do get a random Excel or Word file then the Libre Office we install works just fine.


  9. Avatar

    Josh Durston

    I would love Windows as a service. I'm always building and tearing down machines at home as kind of a hobby. To get rid of a hardware based licensing model would be awesome. Give me a consumer license good for 5 machines like they do with Office 365, and I would be happy. I never have more than 3 PCs running at any point in time, but which 3 depends on what sort of application I'm messing around with that month.

  10. Avatar

    mikefarinha

    This looks to just be a rebranding of "Microsoft SPE" which includes Windows 10, Office 365, and EM+S.

    • Avatar

      mikefarinha

      In reply to mikefarinha:

      Also, a random thought, Windows as a Cloud OS is already starting to take shape using either your MS account or Office 365 account you have your recent documents follow you around which you can open with a native client or in a web client, the Windows Timeline feature that is to be released soon is more of a (Windows) cloud feature rather than an (Windows) client feature.

  11. Avatar

    adamcorbally

    Would love a consumer edition with 365, groove and Xbox live

  12. Avatar

    offTheRecord

    "I wonder when they will announce a consumer offering. Seems reasonable."

    Looks like we're getting ever closer to that thing that everyone swore would never happen when the term "Windows as a Service" was first floated.

  13. Avatar

    Waethorn

    I have a feeling they're going to start flushing the existing volume license agreements in favour of this. The current grumbles from around the distributor water cooler is that their entire channel program is going to shut down by the end of next year and this is the start of the winding down to shift to a direct sales model to squeeze out distributors and resellers - the "middle men" that built Microsoft's existing sales volume. This, after they'd started making a complete mess with their CSP program, dropping the affiliate program, and of course as everyone knows: laying off a crap-tonne of Softie-dudes-named-Ben. Even now, the prices to resellers for Office 365 are climbing, and distributors are telling resellers that Microsoft isn't going to be offering subscriptions at a discounted cost for much longer, so resellers will be required to add maintenance on top of subscription fees to make any money selling Microsoft services to their clients. This, while Microsoft offers support from top to bottom within what is going to be the same price they're charging resellers. Microsoft is under-cutting their most loyal sales people and/or completely eliminating them. Essentially, Microsoft is saying that the only way to make money on their services is to charge people for on-site installs, and who does much of that anymore?

    • Avatar

      lvthunder

      In reply to Waethorn:

      That doesn't make any sense given that they are laying a portion of their own sales force like they announced last week.

      • Avatar

        Waethorn

        In reply to lvthunder:

        It makes perfect sense: they're cutting back resources in their own company because they don't want to offer services for resellers to connect to customers like the existing CSP program offers (even though it's a mess). Less contacts means they can automate the system internally and not have as much support staff on hand. Most of the sales staff that were laid off were connected to the partner sales support system.

  14. Avatar

    webdev511

    Even today you can't talk about one with out the conversation bringing in other components. E.g. Can't talk about Office 365 without also having that lead into Cloud Access Based Security. We'll see if this changes the conversation.

  15. Avatar

    nbplopes

    This makes sense. Now this will come to end user sometime.


    You see, they sell you the Windows S. Than if you want Pro, subscribe to Office 365. Of course this will come as an option for starters. Meaning you'll have the option to buy the Pro license one time or subscribe to Office 365 and pay it as a subscription.


    I remember people saying that this would never happen to Windows 10 ... well here it is ... coming soon on a store near you :) I remember than some shocked with this possibility. But now it seams that people are welcoming it :)


    Personally I prefer a vendor that sells a device also includes the OS with no strings attached ... unless the OS is clearly free. Yes ... strings ... as of, it is payed off when I buy the machine.

Leave a Reply