Microsoft CEO Satya Nadella confirmed during a media event earlier this week that Microsoft will soon launch a Microsoft 365 subscription service for consumers, following reports that suggested such a move was in the making. Microsoft 365 isn’t exactly new, as it has been available to business users since 2017. However, the new product targets commercial consumers who presumably already have access to a computer of some sort.
Office 365 works across all platforms right now, as long as you have a valid license. And Office 365 users likely own Windows 10 or macOS computers; therefore they already own an operating system. In other words, it’s unclear at this time what a Microsoft 365 bundle will have to offer consumers, and Nadella did not elaborate.
“I think about Microsoft 365 as a two-sided market,” Nadella said, according to The Verge. “What we are doing with Office 365 or what we will soon be talking about as Microsoft 365 consumer subscriptions, those would be again completely consumer businesses.”
A logical guess would be that Microsoft 365 encompasses all of the Microsoft software solutions a consumer would need, with special emphasis on Windows 10 device owners. Products like Office 365 and Skype could easily be included in the subscription, as well as some sort of Windows 10 perks that go beyond license.
Like I said before, most Office 365 users already own computers, including Windows 10 machines. Even though some people might want to build their own desktops and purchase Windows 10 separately, it’s likely that most consumers get their Windows 10 licenses by buying new hardware. Microsoft could also include gaming-related services in the Microsoft 365 bundle. After all, if its Microsoft 365, it should cover all Microsoft products.
Speaking of hardware, Microsoft 365 could certainly grow into a service that would allow users to purchase Microsoft hardware, including Surface and Xbox brands, for cheaper than before. But that’s also speculation from yours truly. Microsoft already has hardware programs in place, including Surface All Access and Xbox All Access, which should make it more affordable for consumers to buy new Microsoft hardware.