Microsoft is rolling out three new pricing options for its cloud-based Office 365 services aimed at small and mid-sized companies with up to 250 employees. The new plans are available today, and range from $5 to $12.50 per user per month with an annual contract. The cheapest package Microsoft will offer is called Office 365 Business Essentials, and as you might expect it offers a pretty bare bones experience for just $5 per user per month. It includes core services for email, calendar, Office Online, IM, video conferencing, cloud storage and file sharing, but no desktop apps.
Microsoft is rolling out new Office 365 plans for companies with fewer than 250 employees that will slowly replace the company’s existing plans for small and midsize businesses. The company had already outlined some of these changes earlier this year, so this week’s announcement doesn’t come as a huge surprise. Companies that sign up for Office 365 will now get access to these plans. Businesses that already subscribed to Microsoft’s SMB plans before will have to wait until their subscriptions are up for renewal to switch to the new plans (and they can still stay on their existing plans for longer, too). The older Small Business and Small Business Premium plans were also capped at 25 employees, which meant midsized companies had to subscribe to Microsoft’s costlier enterprise plans if they wanted to use Office 365 and didn’t need all the features of the old Midsize Business plan (the equivalent of the new Business Premium offering).