Microsoft rebranded Office 365 to Microsoft 365 in Oct. 2022, part of its effort to slowly take the long-running "Office" brand out of the limelight. At the time, the company didn't make any significant changes to the subscription tiers or features offered. But that will change later this month with the addition of a new Microsoft 365 Basic tier, which will cost $1.99/month ($19.99/year).
Microsoft 365 Basic slots between Microsoft 365 (free) and Microsoft 365 Personal ($6.99/month). It replaces the previous 100GB OneDrive storage subscription and adds some perks. 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.
While the inclusion of Office is welcome, we should note that this tier only includes the basic, web-based versions of Microsoft's popular productivity apps, which are available for free. To access the "premium" desktop versions of Word, Excel, PowerPoint, and OneNote, you'll have to step up to Microsoft 365 Personal.
Microsoft was quick to point out that Jan. 29, 2023 marks the 10th anniversary of Office 365. The high-end Office 365 Home Premium subscription initially included only 20GB of cloud storage. Today, the Microsoft 365 Personal tier offers 1TB of OneDrive storage. In addition, the flagship Microsoft 365 Family tier for consumers ($9.99/month) supports up to six people, each with their own 1TB allotment of OneDrive storage.
Microsoft 365 Basic will be available starting Jan. 30. Current 100GB OneDrive subscribers will automatically be shifted to the newer, more feature-packed tier.