Microsoft 365 vs. Office 365: What’s the difference?

Blog by: Paul Bain, Head of Professional Services, Adept4 - 06-Aug-2018

Microsoft introduced Microsoft 365 last year, a bundle of existing products under one license, geared towards businesses. The name is similar to the already existing Office 365, which has caused no end of confusion to the end user.


It’s easy to see how the two products can be confused. In fact, a lot of customers continue to use the terms interchangeably to refer to Office 365.

To make things crystal clear, let’s break down the differences:

The difference in one sentence?

Office 365 is a cloud-based suite of productivity appsincluding Outlook, Word, PowerPoint; whereas Microsoft 365 is a bundle of servicesincluding Office 365 and Windows 10 Enterprise. 

Office 365

Office 365 is a cloud-based suite of apps and services focused on business productivity. It includes the familiar apps: Microsoft Outlook, Word, PowerPoint and Excel.

Office 365 is a monthly, per-user subscription. There are a variety of plans to choose from based on your specific needs. Plans can be mixed and matched in your business, and you can change plans at any time. Click here to view the Enterprise pricing and Business pricing.

Depending on the plan you choose, subscriptions can also include other apps and services such as:

  • Skype for Business
  • SharePoint
  • OneDrive
  • Teams
  • Yammer
  • Planner

For a full listing of the Office 365 apps and products click here.

Microsoft 365

Microsoft 365 is a bundle of services that includes Office 365, as well as:

  • Windows 10 Enterprise,
  • Enterprise Mobility +
  • Security (EMS), and
  • Machine learning.

Like Office 365, there are multiple plans to choose from depending on your organisation’s needs. For companies with below 300 users there is Microsoft 365 Business and for larger companies there are Enterprise plans. You can view more information about Microsoft 365 Business here and compare the Microsoft 365 Enterprise plans here.



We know security continues to be an area of major concern for customers – and with reason. With Microsoft 365 Business Windows Defender is automatically enabled. It means customers have peace of mind that computers have the very latest security updates. For companies with mobile users there’s extra peace of mind with a PIN needed before mobile users can access work accounts on personal devices. This goes some way to prevent copy and pasting of company data into personal emails.


The services included in Microsoft 365 are also available as separate licenses. If you can’t find a plan that fits your needs, you can still achieve close to the same results by buying licenses for all the components (though you may miss out on some of the machine learning benefits).

Deciding what is right for your business

The first question to ask yourself is, do you need everything included in Microsoft 365? Microsoft 365 is a bundle of already existing services, so if you don’t need everything in it, you may be better off buying what you need separately.

If you do need everything in Microsoft 365, the next step is to choose a specific license (or licenses – like Office 365, you can mix and match plans). You can compare licenses in the links above. A Microsoft Partner, like Adept4, can also help you choose which license is the best fit and price all your options.

Unless you’re starting from scratch, moving to either Office 365 or Microsoft 365 isn’t as simple as pressing a button. There are setup and migration requirements for both and inevitably there will be time and costs associated with this.  If you have a savvy IT manager on staff then you should be able to manage this migration or upgrade internally. If not, your best bet is to work with a Microsoft Partner, who has experience with migrating businesses to Office 365, implementing EMS and setting up machines with Windows 10 Enterprise.

If you’d like help figuring out the best package for your business and how to migrate with least disruption then sign up for a Secure a Cloud Readiness assessment


Topics: Microsoft 365, Cloud, Office 365

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