Microsoft Targeting Cloud-Loving Individuals With New Office 365 Personal Offering

Microsoft on Thursday unveiled Office 365 Personal, a soon-to-be-released cloud software offering aimed at individual customers who only need to use Office on a single PC, Mac or tablet.

Office 365 Personal will be priced at $6.99 per user monthly, or $69.99 per user annually, and customers can only install it on one device. This is significantly cheaper than Office 365 Home Premium, which costs $9.99 per user monthly and $99 per user annually, but also lets customers install it on up to five devices.

Chris Schneider, senior marketing manager for Microsoft Office, said the idea is to expand the range of Office options down to the individual level. He noted that these are the estimated retail prices and said actual pricing is set by Microsoft resellers.

[Related: Microsoft Gives Sneak Peek At Its Plans For Yammerizing Office 365 ]

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"We recognize that there are households of all shapes and sizes, and we're committed to delivering the right Office for everyone -- whether that be one person or an entire household," Schneider said in a blog post.

Chris Hertz, CEO of New Signature, a Washington, D.C.-based Microsoft partner, believes Office 365 Personal will enable Microsoft to address a larger portion of the available market than it has covering with Office 365 Home Premium.

That said, Hertz told CRN that Office 365 Home is a "really great deal" that has been well received by his customers. "I don't see the reason to introduce a single-device SKU, other than Microsoft trying to capture the long tail of consumers that are particularly price-sensitive and didn't see the need for multiple devices," he said.

Microsoft plans to launch Office 365 Personal in the "Spring" time frame, and when it does, it'll change the name of Office 365 Home Premium to Office 365 Home, Schneider said. Both Office 365 Home and Personal versions come with one hour of Skype calling time and 20 GB of extra OneDrive cloud storage beyond the 100 GB Microsoft offers for free.

Last week, Microsoft gave a preview of Office Graph, a coming technology that maps relationships between people in an organization based on their Exchange, Outlook, SharePoint, Office, Lync and Yammer usage, and creates groups based on these interactions.