Microsoft 365 Basic: Microsoft has announced its plans to launch a new Microsoft 365 Basic tier later this month. The affordable plan costs $1.99 per month (or $19.99 per year), and includes 100GB of OneDrive cloud storage as well as an ad-free experience in the Outlook web app, with additional security features to follow later this year.
Microsoft highlighted that Microsoft 365 Basic subscribers will get access to the web-based Office apps. Users will also be able to contact support for Windows 11 and Microsoft 365 via phone and online chat. However, it doesn’t include the Office desktop apps already available for Microsoft 365 Personal and Family subscribers.
Microsoft says customers can expect these features with the new tier:
- 100GB cloud storage
- Works on Windows, macOS, iOS, and Android
- Web and mobile versions of Word, Excel, PowerPoint, OneNote, OneDrive, and more
- Ad-free Outlook web and mobile email and calendar with advanced security (data encryption, suspicious link cheer, malware scanning for attachments)
- Microsoft technical support
The extra functionality seems like a nice upgrade for users currently getting by with just the 100GB OneDrive storage tier. In addition, Microsoft says it will add “even better-advanced security features” later this year, including shared links that are password-protected, and ransomware recovery.
Microsoft 365 Basic to launch later this month
It is important to note that Microsoft 365 Basic will replace Microsoft’s 100 GB OneDrive plan on January 30. The company will automatically upgrade all subscribers of its standalone OneDrive plan to Microsoft 365 Basic. However, this change will not impact Microsoft 365 Personal and Microsoft 365 Family plans.
Microsoft mentioned that it will roll out a simplified experience to let users view, upgrade, or manage OneDrive cloud storage. It will be accessible through Windows settings or a Microsoft account on the web on February 1.
Lastly, Microsoft announced that its new Microsoft 365 app is now available for web users. The app replaces the existing office.com portal, and it will begin rolling out to Windows, iOS, and Android users at the end of this month.
Investment in Microsoft 365 makes sense.
It is a growing revenue item for Microsoft, which has bet much of its future on the cloud and, by extension, cloud-driven subscriptions. In its Q4 2022 earnings call, Microsoft reported that Microsoft 365 Consumer subscribers grew 15% to 59.7 million, driving revenue in the company’s Office Consumer products and cloud services segment to $136 million — a 9% year-over-year increase.
In a potential niggle, legal trouble may be brewing over Microsoft 365 in the European Union, my colleague Natasha Lomas reports, where a recent assessment by a working group of German data protection regulators found that Microsoft still hasn’t been able to resolve any of the compliance problems they’ve raised with it. The working group’s update could crank up the pressure on Microsoft 365 customers in Germany and elsewhere in the European Union to reassess their usage of Microsoft’s software and/or seek out less compliance-challenged alternatives.