Microsoft's New 365 Basic Plan: $2 a Month Includes 100GB OneDrive, Ad-Free Outlook

Microsoft 365
(Image credit: Microsoft)

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 365 Subscription Plans (Image credit: Microsoft)

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.

Brandon Hill is a senior editor at Tom's Hardware. He has written about PC and Mac tech since the late 1990s with bylines at AnandTech, DailyTech, and Hot Hardware. When he is not consuming copious amounts of tech news, he can be found enjoying the NC mountains or the beach with his wife and two sons.

  • dennphill
    You gotta be kidding me! I have Office 2016. So what the heck is 'Ads in Outlook?' I wouldn't put up with that for a moment! I am getting to hate MS as much as Apple. I wish Tom's - and Brandon Hill - a Happy New Year. Notsomuch to the idiots at MS and Apple who are out to squeeze the last penny from the public. Two Bucks a month, indeed!
    Reply
  • JamesJones44
    dennphill said:
    You gotta be kidding me! I have Office 2016. So what the heck is 'Ads in Outlook?' I wouldn't put up with that for a moment! I am getting to hate MS as much as Apple. I wish Tom's - and Brandon Hill - a Happy New Year. Notsomuch to the idiots at MS and Apple who are out to squeeze the last penny from the public. Two Bucks a month, indeed!

    Ads are only in the free version... If you use something for free you should expect to see Ads.
    Reply
  • Math Geek
    i would expect office 2021 to be the last you can get without a subscription. but i doubt it has anything better than 2016 or even the 2007 version i still use :)

    plenty of alternatives to Office that i can't see ever actually needing to pay MS monthly for any office program.

    $2 a month to use something they already offer for free....... hmmmm.........
    Reply
  • Alvar "Miles" Udell
    It doesn't really include anything extra, and it's no better than Google One's $1.99 basic tier.
    Reply
  • criticaloftom
    sounds like an admital that consumers hate a move to a subscription walled garden. :p business may suck up such <Mod Edit> for support, but with freeware like open office microsoft can go twist a lemon on it's molten salt burn.
    Reply
  • Alvar "Miles" Udell
    Math Geek said:
    i would expect office 2021 to be the last you can get without a subscription. but i doubt it has anything better than 2016 or even the 2007 version i still use :)

    plenty of alternatives to Office that i can't see ever actually needing to pay MS monthly for any office program.

    $2 a month to use something they already offer for free....... hmmmm.........

    This plan replaces the 100GB OneDrive plan, so you're getting a little extra than you were with that plan for no extra cost, but it's not really that much extra as far as Office goes.
    Reply
  • cAllen
    Their precursor to subscription Windows OS.
    Reply
  • brandonjclark
    Alvar Miles Udell said:
    It doesn't really include anything extra, and it's no better than Google One's $1.99 basic tier.
    I was about to trash you then reconsidered that this is for home use.

    100gb really isn't much, TBH.

    Cloud storage remains expensive!
    Reply
  • USAFRet
    Alvar Miles Udell said:
    It doesn't really include anything extra, and it's no better than Google One's $1.99 basic tier.
    Full MS Office compatibility.
    Sometimes you do have to send a file back and forth from work to home.
    Reply
  • Hooda Thunkett
    So, just what the heck is "suspicious link cheer"? Am I supposed to be cheered up when a suspicious link comes in my email?
    Reply