Microsoft aims to win back consumers with new Microsoft 365 subscriptions.

Office 365 is now Microsoft 365 with some important additions.

Microsoft is unveiling its new Microsoft 365 Personal and Family subscriptions today, which are designed to replace and enhance existing Office 365 consumer plans. Much like the Office 365 Personal and Home subscriptions that exist today, Microsoft 365 Personal and Family plans will be available on April 21st, priced at $6.99 per month for Personal (one person) and $9.99 a month for a Family (up to six people) subscription. Both options will include access to Office, and new features will gradually roll out in the months ahead.

Microsoft 365 plans add two new features that will roll out in preview in the coming months: a new Microsoft Family Safety app and new features in Microsoft Teams for consumers. The new Microsoft Family Safety app is designed to allow families to share their location and manage screen time across multiple devices. Similar to Apple’s Find My app, Microsoft Family Safety can generate notifications when a family member leaves home, work, or school, and enables location sharing.

Microsoft

Microsoft has even built a driving report feature into the app that allows parents to keep an eye on first-time drivers in a household. None of the information will be shared with third parties, but I can’t imagine many teenagers will be thrilled to have mom and dad tracking their driving habits. The Family Safety app can also manage screen time across traditional Windows PCs, Android devices, and even Xbox consoles, so it’s all synced into a single location and limits can be set centrally.

While Skype is Microsoft’s primary communications app for consumers, it’s clear that the company is now focusing more on Microsoft Teams for both work and home. Microsoft is previewing new home features for Microsoft Teams that are now part of Microsoft 365 subscriptions. They’re designed to let friends and family connect in a group chat or through video calls, and share to-do lists, photos, and other content all in one location.

Microsoft is aiming these new Teams features at people who plan trips with friends, or those organizing book clubs and social gatherings. It doesn’t mean Microsoft Teams will replace Skype for everything, but it’s clearly where a lot of Microsoft’s energy is focused right now. All of these Microsoft Teams home features will be available in preview in the summer, and available generally later this year.

If you’re already an Office 365 subscriber, then you’ll be pleased to learn that Microsoft is adding a lot of Office-related features with this transition to Microsoft 365. Anyone will soon be able to access the existing Editor feature of Word, which is more of an advanced proofing service than the regular grammar and spellcheck features. Editor does things like improve your writing by flagging words that are used too frequently or teach you phrases to improve your writing style.

Microsoft 365 subscribers will get access to more advanced grammar and style guides, including a rewrite option that offers to rephrase entire sentences. There’s even a similarity checker to prevent plagiarism and coax students to properly cite content.

 

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