Microsoft 365 VS Office 365: are they different?

The world of work is changing, and quickly. Employees are digitally and tech-savvy, and mobile-ready. They demand seamless experiences that are accessible from any location at any time of day, not just in the office. This is where Microsoft comes in with its wide range of cloud-based services, apps, and features.

As the world’s leading subscription-based service offerings for running a business – the company has already reported a 17.96% growth this year from 2021 – its popularity and strong focus on delivering products to help businesses adapt to a remote working environment speaks for itself.

However, with so many different products under their umbrella, it can be tricky to tell whether a particular offering from Microsoft is part of their Office or Windows portfolio. That’s because there are several different versions of Microsoft service subscriptions, all with slightly different names and offerings. The most widely-known versions are Microsoft 365 and Office 365.

If you’re unsure what the two brands offer, how to tell them apart, or which would be better for your needs, read on to gain a clearer picture.

What is Office 365?

Office 365 is a subscription-based service that includes apps like Microsoft Word and Outlook. It also includes cloud storage and collaboration features, such as real-time co-authoring and shared team calendars. Office 365 can also include enterprise-level security features.

Office 365 comes in several different versions, including Business, Business Premium, and Enterprise. You can choose to subscribe to the monthly or yearly plans, or you can pay for an annual commitment upfront. Business plans are designed for small and midsize businesses, while the more expensive versions are geared toward larger organisations.

Services included:

Office 365 rebranding

In 2020, Microsoft announced plans to rebrand Office 365 to Microsoft 365, with Office 365 subscriptions for small and medium-sized businesses (SMBs) also being renamed. Microsoft stated the reason behind the rebranding was to, “better reflect the innovative cloud-based productivity tools offered in the plans”. 

The licenses’ service offerings and pricing have remained the same. Office 365 Enterprise subscriptions have also been unchanged in terms of name and services.

The newly rebranded plans are now called:

To alleviate any confusion, this article will continue to refer to Microsoft’s productivity suite as Office 365.

What is Microsoft 365?

Microsoft 365 is a subscription-based software service offered by Microsoft. It is designed to be a cloud-first solution, giving you access to all of the company’s productivity apps, as well as other business-focused tools. The service delivers a unified platform that is accessible from any device, and places a strong emphasis on cloud storage and security, analytics, and customer support.

Services offered:

Main differences between the two subscription services

Office 365 is part of Microsoft 365. If you choose a subscription to the latter, you get all the services of the former plus security tools and the OS. However, Office 365 can be purchased and used independently of Microsoft 365, and installed on any platform, like Mac or Linux. It can also be accessed through the cloud, so you can use the apps and features on any device without subscribing to Microsoft’s OS.

Both service offerings are able to fully install Office apps on devices of all kinds, and their browser versions can be accessed this way as well.

If you only require Microsoft’s modern workplace communicative and collaborative capabilities, an Office 365 plan will meet your needs and exceed your expectations with its wide variety of apps and features. However, if your daily operations require a higher level of security and privacy as well as a collaboration hub, a Microsoft 365 plan will deliver the extra security features and device management capabilities.

You can also mix and match the two plans, and swap your users from one to the other based on their level of need.

Get the right Microsoft subscription for your business needs

While both are subscription-based, the two services also offer very different features, including different desktop apps and collaboration tools. Whether you choose to subscribe to Microsoft 365 or Office 365, you’ll gain access to a variety of helpful tools that can help you be more productive.

The Microsoft specialists at NetworkIQ can help you select the Microsoft plan that will suit your business needs, implement it into your existing systems, and remotely manage your entire Microsoft environment.

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