Want Office 365 ProPlus and have more than 250 employees in Australia? Congratulations, it’s potentially going to cost you nearly twice as much and you’ll get less for your money.
Yesterday, we outlined the three versions of Microsoft’s Office 365 subscription package that will be offered to business users. In Australia, Microsoft is continuing its partnership with Telstra to sell the subscription service to small and medium businesses.
For the Midsize Business and Small Business Premium skews, Australian pricing is fairly close to the US, though not identical. Small Business Premium is $13.50 per user month (compared to $US12.50), and Midsize Business stacks up at $16.50 per user per month (compared to $US15.00).
Here’s where it becomes confusing. Midsize Business includes the Office 365 ProPlus software package, which covers all the main Office apps. In the US, ProPlus on its own is the cheapest subscription version of Office 365, at $US12 per user per month. However, in Australia, buying ProPlus standalone through Telstra will cost you $26.90 per user per month.
So why would anyone go for the more expensive option, when Midsize Business gives you ProPlus and extra features but charges you $10 a month less ? The main answer: Midsize Business is aimed at customers with less than 250 staff members. If you have more employees than that, you have to cough up more money. (The other evident difference is that some of the IT management options aren’t included in the Midsize Business pack, but that didn’t lead to such disparate pricing in the US.)
The corporate reality may not be quite as stark as the pricing numbers suggest. Customers with enterprise agreements may be able to negotiate more favourable deals. Nonetheless, it’s a strangely confusing pricing policy, and one I suspect will see most enterprise users sticking with outright licensing rather than the subscription approach.