Microsoft announces Microsoft 365, a service to replace personal Office 365

Microsoft announces Microsoft 365, a service to replace personal Office 365

Ars Technica·2020-04-02 00:24

59 with 50 posters participating, including story author Teams will offer features for families. Here's a screenshot (or mockup) of the ScreenTime-like Family Safety app. Microsoft Editor is the company's answer to Grammarly. Users will be able to connect their personal and work calendars in Outlook. New templates and other features are coming to PowerPoint. PowerPoint has a new rehearsal feature that makes recommendations while you practice your presentations. There are new data types for Excel. Here's the chart showing the different plans available. Starting April 21, Microsofts Office 365 personal and family subscription suite will be renamed Microsoft 365 in a move that heralds an effort by the company to win over more consumer users.Seeking to make a point with the rebranding, Microsoft calls it a subscription service for your life, which might conjure visions of Amazon Prime. Microsoft 365 will cost $6.99 per month, and a six-user, $9.99 family plan will also be offered. Its apps will be available on Windows, macOS, iOS, and Android.It will include Office applications like Word and Excel as Office 365 has, but it comes with a promise of new apps and services both today and in the future. In a blog post describing the new service, Microsoft wrote that Microsoft 365 will offer new artificial intelligence (AI), rich content and templates, and cloud-powered experiences.Later this year, it will also include Microsoft Teams for personal use, as distinct from the existing Slack-like communication tool for business. Part of the pitch here compared to some other family-and-friends messaging tools is end-to-end encryption and 2FA so users can share sensitive things like financial info or anything else that needs to remain private.Additionally, Microsoft 365 will include the just-announced Editor tool for Microsoft Word. Editor is essentially what it sounds like: an AI editor. It will make grammar suggestions, and Microsoft says it will also do things like offer gender-neutral alternatives to phrases that are written.The service will also bundle perks from partners like Headspace and Adobe and will include some smaller features and changes coming to PowerPoint, Excel, and Outlook.The most notable of those might be a change to Outlook that allows you to link your personal calendar to your work calendar to show your real availability in your work account, while still maintaining privacy around the details of personal appointments and business meetings.Finally, a new app called Family Safety is on the way, and it allows parents to manage kids screen activity, among other thingsits similar in some respects to Apples ScreenTime. Microsofts Family Safety aims to protect family members in the real world, too, with features like alerts when family members leave the house.When announcing Microsoft 365, Microsoft repeatedly noted that it does not sell users data. Thats one way Microsoft can try to distinguish itself with one of its biggest competitors in this space, Google.Listing image by Mike Mozart / Flickr

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