Bye-bye Office 365 – Hello Microsoft 365

Many of us out there will have an Office 365 subscription. Maybe it’s a company based thing, or perhaps you have a Personal or Home account to go about your daily activities.

Word processing and PowerPoint presentations aren’t always the easiest things to get excited about, are they? However, Microsoft has been working on jazzing up their office package for some time now and have finally announced that on April 21st Office 3656 accounts will begin to be migrated to the new Microsoft 365 platform. 38 million people subscribe to the current service (at what, say a minimum of $8 per month – yes, you do the maths, but it’s a nice amount every few weeks).

Maybe it’s the lockdown sending us all cray-cray, but this looks like it could actually be quite an interesting big-deal.

Microsoft Corporate vice president Yusef Mehdi said in the announcement: “An evolution of Office 365, Microsoft 365 builds on the foundation of Office infusing new artificial intelligence (AI), rich content and templates, and cloud-powered experiences to empower you to become a better writer, presenter, designer, manager of your finances, and deepen your connection to the people in your life.”

It’s not so much the throwaway PR lines that are interesting so much as what Microsoft has in store for this generation of its Office platform.

Have a read of the full blog post in your own time, but here’s a quick rundown of some of the genuinely exciting features on the horizon.

As a writer, I can’t fail to be interested in Microsoft Editor, which looks like it will be a full-on competitor trying to take Grammarly out of the equation. Now I use Grammarly as a sort of robotic AI sub-editor – a text-based version of the T800 Terminator if you will, but Microsoft Editor, built directly into Outlook and Word is going to make things very interesting indeed for one of my favourite tech startups of all time.

PowerPoint is also getting some AI love with a Presenter Coach feature that will analyze your voice as your practice that pitch you really need to nail and give you tips on how to improve your cadence and so on. This could get interesting.

Spreadsheets – well they are never the glamourpuss of any office package, but Microsoft is introducing a feature called Money (they used to have Microsoft Money as a package back in the day) to help families with their home budgeting.

They tell us: “Money in Excel can help you improve your spending habits by providing personalized insights on your monthly spending and proactive alerts about price changes for recurring payments, bank fees, overdraft warnings, and more.”

It’s always good to see popular packages reinvent themselves. Microsoft has been at the forefront of being helpful during the virus with the roll-out of Microsoft Teams for everybody, and it looks as though it’s time now for Office to be brought more to the attention of families and home users. We will review Microsoft 365 when it releases in April.

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Been around consoles and computers since his parents bought him a Mattel Intellivision. Spent over a decade as editor of popular print-based video games and computer magazines, including a market-leading PlayStation title. Has written tech content for GamePro, Official Australian Playstation Magazine, PlayStation Pro, Amiga Action, Mega Action, ST Action, GQ, Loaded, and the Daily Mirror. Twitter: @iampaulmcnally

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