Microsoft caught everyone off guard this week when they announced some significant changes to Office 365 subscriptions for consumers.
Subscribers who are using Office 365 Personal or Home will see a couple of changes.
Office 365 Personal
Currently this subscription is only allowed to be installed on one PC or Mac plus one tablet. Beginning October 2nd, subscribers will be able to install this to an unlimited number of devices and can be actively signed into the subscribers account on up to five of those installs.
All other aspects of this subscription remains unchanged including the 1TB of OneDrive cloud storage.
Office 365 Home
This package also benefits from the unlimited number of installs and being signed in on up to five devices just like the Office 365 Personal subscription. This means an end to the current cap of 10 installed devices that Office 365 Home subscribers normally encounter at times.
In addition to this change, the Home subscription package is getting a big boost when it comes to users.
Beginning October 2nd, the current limit of five users sharing this subscription will be bumped to six and there will be no change in the annual subscription cost of $99.99.
That now means each of the six potential users under an Office 365 Home subscription will get the full use of the Office suite of software alongside 1TB of OneDrive cloud storage. That means an annual Office 365 Home subscription potentially has access to a total of 6TB for the entire subscription package. Before you ask, there is still no pooling of that OneDrive cloud storage if you are not using all six accounts.
The last change for Office 365 Home subscribers will effect those who have added family members to their Microsoft Account. Those members of the family will now automatically have the subscription shared with their accounts. Previously, sharing among family members had to be setup manually.
One less step for getting your family members access to the Office 365 subscription.
Office 365 Subscription and Installation Management
Along with the changes noted above, Microsoft is also moving the management of Office 365 subscriptions from Office.com/MyAccount to your Microsoft Account page. As you will see in the screenshot gallery below, control over your Office 365 subscription will now be an integral part of the area where you manage other subscriptions tied to your Microsoft Account. From here you will be able to manage the payment & billing method, sharing of the subscription and installs under the subscription. The ability to revoke installs will also be accessible from here.
This change is already in place and you can see the new management interface in the screenshots below.
In closing, what a great move by Microsoft to make the consumer based version of Office 365 even more robust. Since its release back in 2014, the consumer subscriber base of Office 365 has grown to more than 31.4 million users according to Microsoft. While many questioned the viability of a subscription version of Office, it certainly seems to have found its place in the consumer market.
Office 365 Management in Microsoft Account Screenshots