Whether coincidence or a pure disdain for even numbers, Microsoft is replacing the current top-end Office 365 Enterprise E4 SKU with an all new E5 plan.
Office 365 plans have been undergoing constant evolution as Microsoft's cloud-focused suite of productivity tools add new features and capabilities. The current top-end E4 plan, priced at $22 per month for a license (US), which includes hosted email, Sharepoint, Skype for Business, and enterprise voice - generally every feature currently available. E5 keeps this "kitchen sink" approach going by adding in a host of new capabilities that are either currently paid add-ons or coming to Office 365 later this year.
This new plan, according to Microsoft, "will encompass the core value of the modern productivity and collaboration capabilities Office 365 provides today, as well as significant new capabilities including Skype for Business services for real-time communication such as Cloud PBX and PSTN Conferencing, new analytics features like Power BI Pro and Delve Organizational Analytics, and new advanced security features such as eDiscovery, Customer Lockbox, Data Loss Protection (DLP) and Safe Attachments."
Some are evolution of features currently available, like the new Power BI Pro, Delve, and telephony improvements in their hosted PBX solution. Other features included in E5, like "Advanced Threat Protection", are currently paid add-ons that will be rolled into this new suite. Other features announced at the Worldwide Partner Conference will be included in other plans as well, or like in the case of Power BI Pro, will be available separately at $9.99 per month as its own subscription.
When the new plan hits, the Office Enterprise levels will include E1, E3, and E5. Pricing for the lower tiers is expected to stay the same, however Microsoft did not formally announce pricing for the E5 SKU. According to ZDNet Blogger Mary-Jo Foley, current E4 subscribers will be presented step-up options to upgrade to E5, or will be able to renew at the E3 level with the Skype for Business Plus client-access license to maintain feature parity. Add-on SKUs for on-prem licensees will be available via Software Assurance.
During the keynote, Microsoft pointed out that there's ample opportunity for partners. According to their research, there is a 56 billion dollar market out there for the E5 plan, and that the overall cloud market will grow to over 200 billion dollars.
Stay tuned to our hub for more from the 2015 WorldWide Partner Conference, and specific news coming out of Microsoft at the Worldwide Partner Conference Spotlight.