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Microsoft Rebranding Office 365 Offerings For SMBs, ProPlus

Offerings such as Office 365 ProPlus and Office 365 Business Essentials will be renamed as Microsoft 365 versions starting on April 21.

Microsoft is phasing out its Office 365 branding for its cloud productivity suite for small and medium-sized businesses, with the Microsoft 365 branding about to be extended to more products, the company announced Monday.

Microsoft plans to change up the product names for SMB subscriptions to Office 365, as well as for Office 365 ProPlus subscriptions.

[Related: Microsoft Sees Nearly 9X Spike In Azure In Social-Distancing Areas]

Up until now, the Microsoft 365 brand has referred to a bundle for businesses that includes Office 365, Windows 10, device management and security.

But as of April 21, the Microsoft 365 naming scheme is being extended to include additional offerings, according to a Microsoft blog post:

- Office 365 Business Essentials will become Microsoft 365 Business Basic.

- Office 365 Business Premium will become Microsoft 365 Business Standard.

- Microsoft 365 Business will become Microsoft 365 Business Premium.

- Office 365 Business and Office 365 ProPlus will both become Microsoft 365 Apps.

Only the names are changing at this point, with no updates to the products themselves, said Jared Spataro, corporate vice president for Microsoft 365, in the blog post.

"But these changes represent our ambition to continue to drive innovation in Microsoft 365 that goes well beyond what customers traditionally think of as Office," Spataro said in the post.

Versions of Office 365 that are used by enterprises--such as Office 365 E1, E3 and E5--as well as Office 365 versions for education, government and firstline workers will not see changes to their branding, Microsoft said.

The company suggested that it is moving away from the Office branding in part because of the popularity of the Teams collaboration app--an offering not originally part of the Office suite of old--as well because of cloud capabilities such as cloud file storage and security.

Meanwhile, Microsoft on Monday also said that its Office 365 consumer offerings will be renamed to Microsoft 365 as of April 21. Two new offerings for Microsoft 365 consumer--a version of Teams for consumers and the Microsoft Family Safety app for improved monitoring of children's digital activities--will be entering a preview "in the coming months," Microsoft said.

"I believe this to be a wise move for Microsoft, partners and consumers alike. Merging the features in Office 365 and Microsoft 365 like this should make this more understandable and easier to explain to customers," said Miguel Zamarripa, CIO of Colorado Springs, Colo.-based Simpleworks IT, in an email to CRN. "Also, as new features get introduced there won't be as many product SKUs to track. Overall a great move by Microsoft for everyone."

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