Microsoft 365 vs Office 365

Microsoft 365 was released in Aug 2017 as a bundle that combines the well-known Office 365 with Windows 10 and Enterprise Mobility + Security (EMS) features. Microsoft 365 comes in two flavors, Business or Enterprise, and with 4 different plans between the two. But what is Microsoft 365 now exactly? What do you get for your money and how does Microsoft 365 compare to Office 365?

Office 365 and Windows 10 we can understand, but there is so much more you get (or not) with Microsoft 365. What are the benefits, why would you go for M365? In this article, I will explain what the differences are and compare them against Office 365.

Office 365 is becoming Microsoft 365. The names of some Office 365 plans will change to Microsoft 365 after April 21, 2020. This article is updated accordingly. Read more about it here

Microsoft 365 Business Premium was formally know as Microsoft 365 Business

What is Microsoft 365?

Before we start comparing the two, let’s first start by explaining what Microsoft 365 is. Basically, it’s a bundle with a couple of Microsoft Products. What is included depends on the version and plan you choose, but in short, the following products are included:

  • Office 365 (Business Premium or Enterprise F1, E3 or E5)
  • Office 365 Advanced Threat Protection (E5 only)
  • Microsoft Intune
  • Microsoft Advanced Threat Analytics
  • Identity and Threat Protection
  • Information Protection and Compliance
  • Azure Active Directory
  • Azure Information Protection
  • Azure Advanced Threat Protection
  • Windows 10 Pro Upgrade or Windows 10 Enterprise

So as you can see Microsoft 365 is a bit more than only Windows 10 and Office 365 combined. Another advantage is that you can manage all your devices and security settings from the cloud with the Microsoft 365 Admin Center.

Microsoft 365 Admin Center

Office 365 in Microsoft 365

Microsoft 365 is available in different plans, and starting ad April 21, 2020, the Office 365 business plans are renamed to Microsoft 365. So we know have a lot more Microsoft 365 plans to choose from.

  • Microsoft 365 Business Basic (formerly know as Office 365 Business Essentials)
  • Microsoft 365 Business Standard (formerly know as Office 365 Business Premium)
  • Microsoft 365 Business Premium (formerly know as Microsoft 365 Business)
  • Microsoft 365 Apps for Busines (formerly know as Office 365 Business)
  • Microsoft 365 Apps for Enterprise (formerly know as Office 365 ProPlus)
  • Microsoft 365 Enterprise F1
  • Microsoft 365 Enterprise E3
  • Microsoft 365 Enterprise E5

Microsoft 365 Business plans include the “old” Office 365 business. The Enterprise plans contain their Office 365 counterpart. So with Microsoft Enterprise E3, you get exactly the same apps and services as with Office 365 Enterprise E3 (with the addition of Windows 10 Enterprise and the security products of course)

If you want to know more about the Business plans, make sure you read the article Microsoft 365 Business Plans compared where I got more into detail about the differences.

So the Office part is easy, not much to compare there. But what about all the security features and Windows 10?

Windows 10 in Microsoft 365

A simple difference between Microsoft 365 and Office 365 is the Windows 10 license. With Microsoft 365 you get a Windows 10 Pro upgrade or Windows 10 Enterprise (E3 or E5) license.

Microsoft 365 Business Premium

With the Business Premium plan, you get only an upgrade license for Win 10 Pro. This simply means you must have a valid Windows 7 or 8 license from which you can upgrade. In my opinion, not a real added value compared to Office 365.

Windows 10 was released in 2015, so almost every computer has already a valid Windows 10 Pro OEM license. If you are still running Windows 7 then your hardware is probably due to be replaced soon. So the Windows 10 Pro upgrade license is not a real added value.

Microsoft 365 Enterprise

For the Enterprise plans, it’s more interesting when it comes to Windows 10. With the M365 Enterprise F1 or E3 plan, you will get a Windows 10 Enterprise E3 license. (F1 is limited to local only). The E5 plan gets, of course, a Windows 10 Enterprise E5 license.

The features you get are the same, so what makes it interesting is the price. Now Microsoft 365 Enterprise prices are not listed prices. You will have to contact a Microsoft Partner to get a quote, but there is an estimate of the cost.

In general Microsoft 365, E3 will cost you around $ 32 per user per month. The E5 version will be around $ 57.50 per user per month. If we look at the normal Windows 10 Enterprise plans and combine them with a separated Office 365 plan you will get the following result:

Microsoft 365 E3

Office 365 E3
Windows 10 E3
$7 +
Microsoft 365 E3 $32

Microsoft 365 E5

Office 365 E5
Windows 10 E5 $14 +
Microsoft 365 E5 $57

Keep in mind that we haven’t taken a look at the Device Management and Security products yet. This is only Office 365 and Windows 10.

Device and Application Management with Microsoft 365

Device and Application Management is one of the tools to protect and secure your organization’s resources and data. This is what Microsoft 365 is all about. Giving you the tools in one environment to keep the data safe.

With Office 365 alone you have some options to manage and protect your data. We can wipe mobile devices when they are lost with Exchange Online, create content policy rules and Data Loss Prevention policies in the Security and Compliance center, but we can’t manage the device itself.

Mobile device management

With Microsoft 365 you get Microsoft Intune to manage mobile devices. Intune allows us to control multiple factors of the mobile devices and business apps on it. You can set device policies (prevent rooted phones, require a password or pin code, etc) and application policies (Intune Application Protection Policy (APP)).

Using the APP you don’t need to control the device itself. You can simply apply the policy to the application itself, for example, Outlook. When a user is using Outlook we could for example require a pin code to access the corporate data, check if the device is not jailbroken or prevent them from copying corporate data to other apps (personal mail for example)

Also, the Selective Wipe is a welcome option when your users are using their own devices (BYOD). You can just remove the managed apps and data while keeping the personal data intact.

Managing Windows devices

Not only mobile devices can be managed with M365, but you can also manage and even deploy your Windows 10 devices. Don’t expect a full SCCM replacement, you can’t install third parity apps with it. But what you can do is pre-configure Windows 10 and make sure the required Office applications are installed and kept up-to-date.

But it doesn’t stop there, you can also configure your Windows Defender, update management and firewall policies with Microsoft 365.

Advanced Security Features

Keeping your data safe is one part of managing your devices (keeping them up to date and compliant) and on the other hand, protecting actually your data. Microsoft 365 gives you access to multiple tools to help protect your data.

Azure Information Protection is one of these tools. It is designed to protect your data at all times. Based on classifications and protection information it will protect your data no matter where it’s stored. Pretty much in the same way as you can do with most PDF files. You can prevent printing, sharing, editing, or copying of those files.

With Azure Information Protection you can put similar security rules on your files. Not every file type is supported (mainly Office files, images, and pdf, check here for more details), but the most important files are of course.

Other features that are included in Microsoft 365 are Windows Hello, Device Guard, and Credential Guard. These features are aimed to strengthen the security of your devices by using virtualization-based security features to isolate your secrets and Configurable code integrity policies to protect your devices against unwanted apps or code.


So I have given your an overview of the most important features and the differences between them in Office 365 and Microsoft 365. But how does all translate to price per user? Prices for Microsoft 365 Enterprise are not listed, you will need to contact a Microsoft Partner to get exact user prices.

But I can give you an estimate based on prices other IT Pro’s got from Microsoft. If you have new prices or examples, just drop a comment below and I will update the article if necessary.

Price built-up of Microsoft 365 E3

We can compare the Microsoft 365 bundle with three separate Microsoft products. As mentioned in the beginning, M365 is a bundle of Office 365, Windows 10, and Enterprise Mobility and Security. If you buy those products separate you will get the following result:

Office 365 E3 + Win 10 Enterprise E3 + EMS E3Microsoft 365 Enterprise E3
Office 365 Enterprise E3 $20
Windows 10 Enterprise E3
$ 9
Total per user / per month$ 36
$ 32

Price built-up of Microsoft 365 E5

For the E5 plans, we will get a similar result. The savings per user per month is a little bit bigger compared to the E3 plan. Even if you can do it with Windows 10 E3, it is still cheaper to go for the Microsoft 365 E5.

Office 365 E5 + Win 10 Enterprise E5 + EMS E5Microsoft 365 Enterprise E5
Office 365 Enterprise E5 $35
Windows 10 Enterprise E5
$ 15
Total per user / per month$ 64
$ 57 *


This is the first article about Microsoft 365 vs Office 365. In the coming weeks, I will review and compare the different plans to help you select the right product for your organization.

If you need Windows 10 Enterprise and you want to buy Office 365 then I really recommend spending a few extra dollars and going for Microsoft 365. The addition of EMS, the ability to centrally manage your whole environment is definitely worth the few dollars extra per user per month.

But if you don’t need Windows 10 Enterprise, then buying the Office 365 and EMS separately makes much more sense.

Comparison Table Microsoft 365 vs Office 365

Below you will find a comparison chart for the E3 plans. I have built it up the same way as to Office 365 plans so you can easily compare it. You can also download the PDF version of the comparison here: Microsoft 365 vs Office 365 PDF version

  Office 365 Microsoft 365
    Enterprise E3 Enterprise E3
Core Details      
Price user/month (annual commitment)   $ 20.00 $ 32.00
Seat Cap   Unlimited Unlimited
24/7 Phone support   All issues All issues
Desktop version of Word, PowerPoint, Excel, Outlook, OneNote, Publisher  
Web version of Word, Excel, PowerPoint, Outlook, OneNote  
Office apps on tablets and phones  
Standard Services      
Unlimited cloud storage (OneDrive for Business)  
Email, Calendar (Exchange)  
Online meetings, IM (Skype for Business)  
Communication and team sites (SharePoint)  
Team hub (Teams)  
Enterprise Social (Yammer)  
Content discovery and search (Delve)  
Manage tasks and teamworks (Planner)  
Manage your business better (Invoicing, Bookings, MileIQ, Business center)    
Manage customers (Connections, Listings, Outlook Customer Manager)    
Advanced Services      
Active Directory integration  
Mobile Device Management (MDM) for Office 365  
Licensed for hybrid deployment  
Support for shared computer activation  
Video content management  
Compliance – Archiving, eDiscovery, hold  
Windows Information protection – message encryption, RMS, DLP  
Device Management      
Azure Active Direcory Plan 1    
Microsoft Intune    
Fine Tuned User Experience    
Windows Analitycs Health    
Windows Autopilot    
Advanced Security Features      
Azure Information Protection Plan 1    
Device Guard    
Credential Guard    
Credential Guard    
Direct Access    
Windows Defender Antivirus    
Windows Hello    
Microsoft Advanced Threat Analytics    
More Info   More Info
& Prices
More Info
& Prices

* Microsoft Enterprise E3 and E5 prices are based on quotes other IT Pro’s got from Microsoft Reps. The prices may vary depending on your seat size and county. Use these prices as an indication.

Take also a look at these comparisons if you are more interested in Office 365:

Sources used:

10 thoughts on “Microsoft 365 vs Office 365”

  1. What impact will you have when you move a user from O365 E5 + EMS E5 to M365 E5?
    Is there any article explaining it?

  2. According to the Microsoft docs url below, MDM for Office 365 includes the ‘selective wipe’ and security policies(like jailbroken) already. These features therefor are not key differences in favor for Microsoft 365.

  3. What does a version mean with respect to 0365, does version means an update?
    For example, o365 version 2002, what is 2002 signifies?

  4. What about the Microsoft 365 Business Premium. You stated that Microsoft 365 includes windows 10, but is that so for the Microsoft 365 Business packages?

  5. Hey Mate, Just clarifying on Azure AD plan 1, is this not also included in m365 E1 & E3, with plan 2 being included on E5?

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