Microsoft 365 changes: how do they effect your small business?
You might know it as Office 365. Microsoft changed the name back in 2020. It certainly includes a lot more Microsoft products than Word, Excel, PowerPoint and Outlook. Exchange Online comes to mind as well as Teams, OneDrive, Publisher, SharePoint and tons more.
Microsoft has been trying for many years now to convert all their products, including Windows, to a cloud based subscription model.
Microsoft 365 Changes
The big change is Microsoft is forcing Office business accounts to their New Commerce Experience (aka NCE). This means prices are going up particularly if you purchase on a monthly commitment as opposed to forking over the whole year in one shot. For example the new Exchange Online mailbox is going up over a dollar per month per user.
Given that cash flow is king for small businesses this is not a friendly move by Microsoft. Also a lot of small business owner are having problems finding and keeping staff. Why buy a whole year of Office for an employee who might only stick around for a few months?
Microsoft is force feeding the NCE accounts on business by August 2022. Microsoft partners and resellers have pushed back on the new licensing scheme. Microsoft reported sluggish sales of the NCE products in Q3.
“Our on-premises transactional licensing revenue across both the Office and Server businesses was more negatively impacted than expected due to the transition from our open licensing program to our cloud solution provider program,” CFO Amy Hood reported on Microsoft’s Q3 earnings call.
Microsoft still netted US $16.7 billion last year, an 8% improvement from the year before. More on the Microsoft announcement on the impact of NCE and partner pushing back here.
NCE is an excessive money grab and administrative annoyance for business and Microsoft partners. The products are still the same just renamed and repriced
Another Microsoft Annoyance
On top of the money grab, Microsoft is doing a lousy job on the Office 365 experience. Previously Office updates were installed as part of Windows Updates. Microsoft changed this so the Office updates run in the background with no warning and while you are using the product. This leads to file corruption and Outlook profile corruption as well as making the computer very slow while you’re trying to work.
You can turn off the updates. In any Office product, go to File in the upper left hand corner, way down on the left hand side click Account. On the right hand side there is a square button Office Updates and you can change the settings there.
I don’t recommend it as almost every month there are security updates for Office 365 usually for Excel.