Microsoft announced today that Microsoft 365 Business is now generally available for small and medium-sized businesses.
Additionally, Microsoft announced the general availability of three new Office 365 apps for business—Microsoft Connections, Microsoft Listings, and Microsoft Invoicing—which join Microsoft Bookings, Outlook Customer Manager, and MileIQ to create what it calls “a suite of capabilities” for small businesses.
“Microsoft 365 Business is built to deliver the productivity tools and security services businesses need in a single, simple-to-manage product,” the software giant explains. “It safeguards company information, extending security across users, apps, and devices. It helps ensure PCs are up to date and secure, helping prevent security vulnerabilities that cyber-thieves often exploit. It also provides protection for company information across devices, with the ability to remove company data from lost or stolen devices.”
Microsoft announced Microsoft 365 Business and Microsoft 365 Enterprise in July, describing it as a “fundamental shift” in the way it delivers its software solutions to business customers. I was a bit more direct, calling it “Microsoft as a service.” Since then, the firm has been beta-testing Microsoft 365 with its customers. And in September, it revealed that it would make the offering available to education customers too.
Microsoft 365 Business is aimed at small- and medium-sized businesses with little or no IT staff and an unmanaged (e.g. no Active Directory) computing infrastructure. It includes all of the cloud and client products and services in Office 365 Business Premium, Windows 10 Pro, plus device management and security tools. It costs $20 per user per month, compared to $12.50 for Office 365 Business Premium alone. Both services are available to businesses with up to 300 users.
Microsoft is also shipping three new Office 365 apps that aim to help small businesses acquire new customers, increase revenue, and accelerate billing and receivables. They are:
Microsoft Connections. This app lets businesses send professional-looking marketing emails that showcase their brand and drive sales.
Microsoft Listings. This app helps businesses acquire new customers and build their brand by getting their business listed on Facebook, Google, Bing, and Yelp.
Microsoft Invoicing. This app provides estimate and invoicing tools that help accelerate payment and manage cash flow.
Together with Microsoft Bookings, Outlook Customer Manager, and MileIQ, these new apps form “a toolkit for small business owners to run and grow their businesses,” Microsoft says.
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