On July 13 at Microsoft’s annual Worldwide Partner Conference (WPC), Microsoft announced its new “Premium Office 365 Enterprise Suite”, which is a fancy way of saying that the new E5 plan will replace the existing E4 plan before the end of the 2015 calendar year.
Added features make E5 compelling
According to an Office 365 post by John Case, Corporate VP of Office and Office 365, “E5 will encompass the core value of the modern productivity and collaboration capabilities Office 365 provides today, as well as significant new capabilities…” These new capabilities include:
All of these products are already released, but consolidating them into a single suite is what truly makes the E5 unique from the E4 offering.
Some speculations on pricing
New customers can purchase any combination of E1 and E3 to qualify for Cloud PBX. E5 Customers who wish to maintain the terms of their license agreement will be able to renew into E3 and Skype for Business Plus client-access license (CAL).
Existing customers can upgrade to E5, and pay the difference between their existing subscription and the step-up SKU price for E5. E4 is currently priced at $22/user/month; however, Microsoft has given no indication as to the price of E5. However, as speculated in this article by Tony Redmond, it is safe to assume that, “Microsoft will bump the E5 price up to a range between $24-$26. On the other hand, competitive pressures might moderate any raise to perhaps $24.”
Regardless of pricing, the Office 365 E5 plan will offer some significant upgrades to its E4 predecessor.