Microsoft 365 is one of the tools that have made the work-from-home model feasible amidst the global pandemic. Its numerous intuitive features effectively improve the efficiency and reliability of tasks handled by remote staff. Recently, the company decided to introduce some price changes, some as high as 20%. The company announced the price hike plans on its blog page while giving consumers ample time to prepare for the increase, set for March 1, 2022.
Starting from March 1, 2022, Microsoft 365 will undergo a significant change in pricing. However, the price is not a constant rise across every package offered under the product. Some packages will experience a higher rise than others.
The specific pricing changes will apply as follows:
The company stated that this is the first substantive price increase in the decade, and it is to compensate for the plethora of new apps and features added to the software. However, there will be one package whose pricing will not be affected: Microsoft 365 E5. It is currently the most expensive feature, at $57 per user per month. The company is not increasing the price of this specific feature because they want more people to consider it as an option.
Microsoft did not go into much detail about overseas pricing. However, there will be adjustments to accommodate every country depending on the local markets. For this reason, you should expect to be affected by the change in some way, no matter your geographical location.
Microsoft defends the move, stating that the updated pricing is to compensate for the increased value they have delivered to their customers. The market saw lots of new features for presenters in teams.
Some of the recent Microsoft updates include:
Meetings with live annotations
Presenters will be able to highlight areas of the screen to help their viewers follow their presentation, just like you used to do with a pointed tool in the real world. The new annotation tool appears when a slide deck is shared. Presenters can use tools like pointers, pens, and markers and annotate their slides in real-time to draw attention to different areas. The annotations are only visible during the meeting, and they save back to the original deck. However, viewers on mobile versions of Microsoft Teams will not see the annotations live.
This feature lets presenters add a video feed to their presentation. You will be able to superimpose your camera video in front of your slides or whatever else you are sharing. The company will add a new button to the sharing window that activates standout mode. The standout mode takes your video feed and layers it on top of whatever is being presented. In such a manner, people can see you and your slides at the same time.
This translation feature will allow you to translate slides into 19 different languages. When you present in a team meeting, the attendees will choose which language they want to see. The translation will only be available to the individual who desires it and won’t affect the presenter or any other attendees at the meeting.
This feature will allow multiple spotlights during meetings with teams. It will allow conveners and speakers to spotlight up to seven participants at the same time that each individual should see during the sessions. The presenters or organizers can remove the spotlights whenever they need to and add others or remove them in bulk.
Approvals in teams
This feature has been around for a while and is available to everyone using it, but it was quite limited in terms of what you could do with it until recently. Administrators and team owners will create new approval templates in teams that people can use to start their approval workflows.
So, for example, a team owner can make a workflow that uses the approvals app can use to request work from home. All the properties needed, like the date and the reason, are all built into the template. So, a team owner can create the approval workflow in minutes, and the whole team can use it.
Event audience targeting
This is a new feature to the SharePoint event that will let us target events at different audiences. You can add an audience to the event based on Microsoft 365 group, and then only people in that group will see the event listed on the homepage. Viewers get a more personalized experience because now, every time you create an event, you can choose who sees it, which is great for marketing.
Update for planner
This feature has been on the roadmap for a while, and it’s finally live. File recommendations will suggest files to attach to the current task with a curated list based on the person using the planner and the job itself. When you open a task in the planner, you will see a suggested attachment section at the bottom of the task. It will only show you the files you already have access to, and you can add them to the list.
The company points out that this is the first substantial price revision since Microsoft 365 was released a decade ago. Therefore, it feels it is about time for the price to meet modern standards. Other than that, Microsoft does not seem to increase the cost of any future 365 plans. For example, both education and consumer-based plants will be left untouched for the time being.
Microsoft 365 and Office 365 are a lot different from what they were ten years ago, especially now that they serve work-at-home employees worldwide. As such, do not be too surprised if Microsoft comes up with a new price for their commercial 365 plans soon. If you don’t want to tolerate the price hikes, there are plenty of other tools similar to Microsoft 365 that you can try out.
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