Office 365 Business vs Business Premium vs Business Essentials

If you have less than 300 employees, Microsoft has a series of Office 365 plans known as the “Business” editions. There are three options within Office 365 Business: Office 365 Business Premium, Office 365 Business, and Office 365 Business Essentials. They contain the most basic Office 365 features at a reasonable price.

In this article, I’ll explain the main differences between the plans, give you a comparison table, and explain the new “Microsoft 365” naming for these plans.

To write this article, we did a lot of research. In addition to writing this post, we also created a recommendation tool that you can try out. Based on your feature requirements, it will provide a personalized recommendation between the seven different Office 365 editions.

The Basics

It’s pretty simple. Most people only need to answer two questions in order to choose between Office 365 Business, Business Premium, or Business Essentials:

  1. Do you want to install the Office applications on your computer, or access them online-only?
    (The major reason for wanting to install them is to facilitate remote work.)
  2. Do you need email & calendar?

Office 365 Business

Office 365 Business is right for you if your answers were:

  1. Install Applications
  2. No Email Required

Office 365 Business allows you to use programs like Word, Excel, and PowerPoint on your desktop computer, but it does not provide you with an email address. It is also the only plan that doesn’t include Teams, SharePoint, Skype for Business (now included in Teams), or Yammer, so keep that in mind as well.

Office 365 Business costs $8.25/user/month.*

Office 365 Business Essentials

Office 365 Business Essentials is right for you if your answers were:

  1. Online Applications Only
  2. Email Required

Office 365 Business Essentials does not allow you to install the Office 365 applications on your PC, but it does provide you with an email service. This is the 100% “online” version of Office 365.

Office 365 Business Essentials costs $5.00/user/month.

Office 365 Business Premium

Office 365 Business Premium is right for you if your answers  were:

  1. Install Applications
  2. Email Required

Office 365 Business Premium provides you the basic Office 365 functionality that most people need to be fully productive.

Office 365 Business Premium costs $12.50/user/month.*

Comparison Table: O365 Business vs Business Essentials vs Business Premium

Feature Business Business Essentials Business  Premium
Email and Calendar Included Included
Skype Functionality, Teams, & Yammer Included Included
OneDrive for Business Included Included Included
Microsoft Office Apps Online Included Included Included
Office Client/Desktop Apps Included Included
Price $8.25



Are Microsoft 365 and Office 365 the Same?

In some cases, yes. Microsoft 365 Business is the new naming for all these Office 365 Business plans (announced in March 2020). This is just a naming change — all pricing and features are still the same.

And most of our customers still it Office 365.

Here are the new official names for all the Office 365 Business plans:

  • Office 365 Business Essentials is now called Microsoft 365 Business Basic
  • Office 365 Business Premium is now called Microsoft 365 Business Standard
  • Office 365 Business is now called Microsoft 365 Apps for business

However, note that the Office 365 Enterprise plans have not been renamed. So, officially speaking, there is now Microsoft 365 Business and Office 365 Enterprise.

More Things to Think About

In addition to the Office 365 Business plans, there are three Enterprise versions — E1, E3, and E5. You must purchase an enterprise plan if you are going to pick up more than 300 users!

These plans also include some powerful admin and security features, and a few other goodies. You can read about them, or don’t forget to try out our recommendation tool that will help you choose between all seven Office versions.

* All pricing is subject to change without notice. Contact Encore for the most current pricing.

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